Friday, February 26, 2016

Who are the Unsung Heroes of Rock Guitar?

Topic: Who are the Unsung Heroes of Rock Guitar?
You love that guitar work but dammit you don’t know who played it! This week Kevin and Lou discuss the rock’s most underatted guitarists and discuss your picks from our social media polls.

Thanks to  Vince Ornato , Anthony Leone , Vinni Belfiore, Kyle Ingram , Henry Bachorski, Jared Greece ,  Lou Ross ,  Jim Dofka , Johnny Danger ,  Mark Barry ,  James R Kester ,  Bill Hathaway ,  Mark Andrew Glinka , Katie Simone ,  Michael Bauer ,  Brian Urso, MaryAnn Hershberger,  Billy Menk,  Paul Sexauer

Birthday shout outs to Neal Schon (Journey), Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden) and Eddie Gray (Tommy James & the Shondells)

The Weekenders are a raw rock n’ roll band.

Boasting a sound hearkening back to the days when Rock N’ Roll legends reigned supreme over the radio waves, Salt Lake City-based The Weekenders aren’t in the business of treading lightly.

The fuzz groove four piece has honed the ability to pull from some of the best elements of Rock n Roll from Muscle Shoals to Grunge.    They have supported a handful of national acts including Blitzen Trapper, Band of Heathens, The Stone Foxes, Lukas Nelson and many others.

Rob Reinfurt – Guitar & Vocals
Mike Sasich – Guitar
Shaun Thomas – Drums
Mike Torgerson – Bass

Here’s what the press is saying:

I could easily describe their music by comparing them to every psychedelic band from the seventies with touches of early grunge. But a better description would be to say that they are a band with no limitations. A band that lays it all on the line with no reserves both musically and lyrically.”          Indie Music Reviewer (4 out of 5 stars )
One of the best albums of 2012″   Ear Munchies
If you are a fan of heavy 70s rock, Don’t Plan On by The Weekenders is an album you should get for yourself.”
Think, the days when Page and Plant reigned supreme, Leslie West was the size of a mountain and Grand Funk still had… well, funk.  The Weekenders really manage to capture that early 70’s vibe….But they’re not without they’re own modern touch. Much like Jack White’s latest work that echos a bygone era, everything is bathed in a distinct homage to the classics.”    Ride with The Devil
The Weekenders have presented a debut album with a great classic appeal—a re-imagining of epic music past.” SLUG Magazine 
The Weekenders are a unique powerhouse that reminds us of a time when Rock was truly Rock music.  This is a band you want to see.”   American Musicians Radio
“These are roaring songs that take you through the last 40 years of good rock music.”  Indie Band Guru
  This band from Salt Lake City are shit hot!!!”   The Ripple Effect

Don’t Plan On is unquestionably an ambitious effort that showcases the fiery passion with which The Weekenders make their first foray into local record stores.”   Salt Lake City Weekly

The band’s heady, confident blend of modern rock and blues sounds as if it’s from an earlier time.”   The Salt Lake Tribune 

There is a sincerity in Jake Chisholm”s music that is immediately identifiable. Whether his compelling vocal, his memorable guitar hooks, or his thoughtful lyrics ; he excels in all areas, providing the listener with the feelings of both familiarity and being privy to something cutting edge ; both at once. No fancy bells and whistles here, just a deep and full sound that is a fresh take on blues and adding rock ‘n’ roll elements. Inspired by classic blues, soul and rock n roll, Chisholm’s tasteful yet intricate guitar work and songwriting evokes vivid and shameless tales of love, lust, and lessons learned.
An in demand session player on the Toronto jazz & blues scene, Chisholm earned a reputation as a talented and respected young vocalist/guitar player. Chisholm is the founder and leader of the popular blues band Jake and the Blue Midnights, who rapidly and deservedly gained the attention of Canada’s blues scene, performing at numerous club gigs and notable festivals around the country. This lead to a busy sideman stint backing many Toronto based blues artists including Julian Fauth, Paul Reddick, Raoul and the Big Time, and Jerome Godboo.
Reprising his role as a dynamic front man, Chisholm breaks out of blues convention with his new CD Diamond In A Coalmine. Featuring seven originals and two creative cover songs (Robert Johnson’s “Traveling Riverside Blues” and The Young Rascals’ “You Better Run”), each track on the CD is generous with infectious guitar hooks and gritty vocals from Chisholm, fat bass lines from Chris Banks, and heavy pulsing grooves from drummer Sly Juhas.Jay Danley provides additional support with the tambourine and maracas.
With his thoughtful, creative and powerful interpretation of the blues, Diamond In A Coalmine is a testament to Jake Chisholm’sskills as an exceptional songwriter, masterful guitar player and charismatic front man, while also paying homage to his musical influences.  
Get the single on iTunes now -

Nashville-based alt/blues rocker, Jack Berry, premieres his first single, “The Bull,” via Consequence of Sound from his forthcoming LP, Mean Machine, set for a Spring 2016 release. Berry’s gritty rock sound has garnered 
acclaim from Blues Rock Review (Top 10 Artists to Watch in 2013, #2 album of 2013) and The Deli Magazine (Top Ten Nashville Artists to Watch, 2015).

Originally from Reno, Nevada, Berry created his first album for a school project while studying in Los Angeles. After performing along the West Coast in a duo, Berry decided that he was meant for a career in music and relocated to Nashville. After several months of sleeping on a couch and working to catch the attention of the local press, Berry’s “ample supply of good hooks and riffs” (Nashville Scene) eventually gained the praise of critics throughout Nashville and beyond, earning him spots at well- 
known festivals, including North by Northeast in Toronto, New York City’s CMJ Music Marathon and SXSW’s Red Gorilla Festival. 

Since then, Berry has logged dozens of shows from Nashville to New York City. He most recently appeared at No Country For New Nashville’s December showcase in 2015 and earned the runner-up spot in Hard Rock Rising’s Battle of the Bands. Mean Machine is poised to serve as Jack Berry’s breakthrough record.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Interview with Jim Huff

Jim Huff is a Canadian born Multi Platinum Producer, Songwriter, Guitarist and former A&M recording artist who makes Los Angeles his home.

Jim's many years of experience both as a major label recording artist and songwriter, moving into production and developing talent with labels, publishers and management companies as well the wide variety of major label artists and acts he's produced and co-written with including Joe Bonamassa, Holly Brook (AKA Skylar Grey) have garnered him numerous awards and established Jim as a creative force in today's music industry.

His knack for understanding the creative process in developing both songs and a "sound" for established and emerging artists keeps him working across numerous genres of music from rock to pop, blues and country, from LA to Nashville, Canada and Europe.

On Nov 3 , 2015 ,  Jim's latest release which he Produced and Co-wrote for Donica Knight  "Love Aint a Prize" Debuted at NUMBER ONE on the ITunes Country New Releases Charts and has been receiving rave reviews. The full EP which Jim also produced, co-wrote and played guitars on is scheduled for a 2016 release. 

Jim has also worked with numerous Film and TV supervisors, producers and directors to create "theme" or "trailer" tracks and music cues , his productions and songs have been heard on numerous network television shows and films.

Check out his " video" page to view some of his Film and Tv Composer works.

Come on in, have a look around and check back often for updates on new recordings, artists and writers that Jim is working with.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Interview with THE VON

South Florida Duo The Von Have ‘Nothing To Fear’
South Florida-based hard rock duo The Von have an unlikely band bio. One member Luis hails from Venezuela. The other member Marek comes all the way from Czech Republic. Together, they play glorious metal music that fuses their diverse cultural backgrounds. For a cheat sheet on their sound, think Muse, HIM, Queens Of The Stone Age– all smashed together.

The band is just about ready to launch their latest single ‘Nothing to Fear’ from their upcoming album Ei8ht. In anticipation of the new track, we asked The Von a handful of hard-hitting, super intense,brain-stumping interview questions. These were their answers…

How did you guys meet?
We met though a mutual friend at a Slayer show down in Miami about 5 years ago. Our friend was part of the local crew, and a few beers later we were discussing each other’s musical tastes. Eventually, we ended up agreeing on getting together to jam sometime.

What are you main musical influences?
Luis: I grew up in a tropical country listening to my parents’ music– flamenco , easy listening, and Latin artists like Roberto Carlos and Julio Iglesias. At the age of 6, my brother brought home Queen’s Play The Game. That was it. I discovered rock n’ roll. My early influences definetly are the bands I listened to as a kid. Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Sepultura. Later I developed a taste for electronica , and started appreciating salsa and Cuban music more.

Marek: Since my childhood I have been listening to The Beatles, Queen and many local artists in the Czech Republic including some folk music writers. I also developed a deep passion for classical music and opera at an early age. I grew up in a time of Cold War fears. The Communist Political Party oppressed the country and tried to block its citizens from western music influences. As I became a teenager, I developed a strong resistance against the regime, which brought me to bands like Pink Floyd, The Doors, and Jimmy Hendrix. Later on I discovered the metal genre, and I dove into music of bands such as Iron Maiden, Metallica, Judas Priest and Dream Theater. In my late teenage years, I fell deeply in love with instrumental music of Joe Satriani and Steve Wai.

How have your different backgrounds effected your sound?
It created a magnificent sonic synergy of two different cultures.

What were some of your previous bands?
Marek: I’ve played in many bands since the age of 15. My most successful band was Nemesis, which had released its first album “Temptation” in 1994. I also worked on the production of a few metal bands and electronic acts. By the late 1990s, I stared my own independent recording label in the Czech Republic.

Luis: I have had only one other band, Diestra, that my brother Ricardo and I formed. Diestra was Latin rock/pop band. We put out 2 albums and 2 EPs. Diestra started out in Atlanta in 98 , by 2001 we had won an award made by Univision, went to the 2nd edition of the Latin Grammys and things evolved making us move to south Florida in 2002. We even shot a McDonalds commercial. All was going very well. By 2006, we had recorded our 2nd album. Shortly after that, my brother died in a car crash and things just obviously could not go on. I tried to bring back Diestra as a 3-piece– me as the singer for a few shows– but it just wasn’t the same. Diestra albums are still being distrubuted in Spain I believe.

Luis, what would you say are the top 3 places to visit in Venezuela?
Luis: Venezuela is a country of immense natural diversity. From snow to dessert to jungle. I would strongly suggest the Amazon and Angel Falls, the amazing beaches, Los Toques National Park, and the Andes Mountains.

Marek, your turn. What are the top 3 places in the Czech Republic?
Prague has its historical charm and beauty. Karlštějn was built by Charles IV as a magnificent building for storing and protecting Crown Jewels and relics. Moravian Karst is a geologic phenomenon that is in a naturally protected region of the Czech Republic.

What do you do when you’re not making music?
Luis: I’m an accomplished beer snob, graphic designer / web creative, and father of a 3 year old daughter

Marek: Yoga, scuba diving, flying airplanes, and meditation.

What’s the plan after the single release?
Touring and album release.

For some audio from the band, listen to the band’s music on Soundcloud or their website. Stay tuned for the full version of ‘Nothing To Fear’ in mid-April. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Loudini Rock and Roll Circus
Hosted by Lou Lombardi aka "Loudini" & Kevin O'Connor
Topic: The Ladies who Rock our World!

We all know the Wilson (Ann & Nancy) Sisters, Pat Benetar, Joan Jett, Janis Joplin, Grace Slick and of course Stevie Nicks but women have rocked this business at every level since the begining. As we started putting together next week's podcast with an all female line up of bands we started thinking about some of the amazing lesser know ladies who have rocked our world. Thanks to our friends who weighed in on Facebook, Tanisha Jackson, Bob Giacometti, Katie Simone, Brigitte Rios Purdy, Terry Filia-Popovich , B.c. Cliver , Tina Magnotti,    Zosia West ,  Carla Sunseri Simmons , Bill Hathaway,  Carla Bianco,  Jeff Mazzei, Vince Ornato, Greg Richards.    Birthday shout outs to J, Geils, Walter Becker (Steely Dan), Randy California (Spirit), Jon Brant (Cheap Trick), Kristy Wallace a.k.a. “Poison Ivy” (The Cramps), Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), Edwin Graham (The Darkness).
 Loudini artists Highway 4, Sit Kitty Sit, and Unwed Mothers . All this PLUS Pittsburgh Kevin!

"With an ear open to the great influences of the past, performed with the intensity of today, and a clear vision of the future, Rock & Roll is in good hands with Highway 4."
~Tim Daugherty, Program Director, WONE-FM 97.5, Akron OH.

Shared the stage with: Blackberry Smoke
The Clarks
Great White
Tracii Guns' L.A. Guns
Bullet Boys
Hot Action Cop
Truth & Salvage Co.

"We're losing the human element in today's music. Perfection is impossible, and no one really wants that anyway." ~Kelly Brown, VOX Highway 4

Highway 4 is a 4 piece progressive riff-rock band that combine Zeppelin's hard hitting classic style, melodic Pearl Jam-like hooks, and vocal undertones of Myles/Nicks into and intense and engaging live show.

The "Classic Rock" sound has come full circle, this time, with more power and grit to back it up.
The award-winning rock band from the North East is quickly rising to popularity and resurfacing the rock music scene. Eclectic influences of the 1970's era forged with the muscle of the 21st Century have been the backbone to developing the unique & reminiscent new genre known as "Progressive Riff-Rock."

Band Members
Kelly Brown - Vocals
Jordan Gibson - Drums
Tylar Parker - Bass Guitar
Mike Angert - Lead Guitar

-2nd Place Overall at 105.9's The X Winter Rock Showcase 2011
-1st Place Overall at The 2012 Next Big Thing Tour
-2013 Grassy Award from 97.7 The Rock Station's Grass Roots Show for "One Of These Days"

San Francisco based Hard Piano Rock duo, Sit Kitty Sit, takes the stage. It’s a pretty girl in a cocktail dress and a handsome guy in black jeans.  Simple.  Unassuming. Armed only with piano and drums, this fiery team lets loose an expertly manipulated balance of blow-your-mind power rock and virtuosic intricacy that leaves audiences screaming.

In May of 2010, Kat Downs (Good Natured Mortals/Sparrows Point/Saints of Ruin) and Mike Thompson (Big Nasty/Tokyo Raid/Cougar Kick) teamed up to experiment with the combination of classical piano and rock drumming. Typically described as “The Dresden Dolls mixed with King Crimson and Fiona Apple”, the music they create also reflects evidence of Zeppelin, Beethoven, Rush and Rachmaninoff.  The combination of Kat Downs’ ornate hands and hair flying with Mike Thompson’s flawless percussive mastery makes this duo the consummate definition of a “dream-team”.

“Digging for comparisons, you can find a little bit of everyone 
from Nick Cave to Randy Newman, Amanda Palmer to Metallica in their work.
Just simply comparing this band, however, does Sit Kitty Sit a disservice.”
– Nicholas Schneider, The Bay Bridged

Following their 2010 and 2012 releases, “The Push” and “Beautiful/Terrible” respectively, Sit Kitty Sit hit the road and never looked back.  Touring almost non-stop since 2013, the duo has built up a cult-style following all across the United States and have become known for consistently thrilling audiences with their energetically intense live performances. No holds barred, this group produces addictive rock n’ roll – with only two people, and not one guitar in sight.
“They seem to accomplish more with two people than most bands do with five.”
–  Veronica Kirk, Black on the Canvas

2014 unleashed the release of Sit Kitty Sit’s third studio album, “Everlasting Fire”.  Based entirely on Dante’s “Inferno”, this storyline album showcases the extensive versatility of Downs and Thompson as a team.  Spanning seven genres and boasting 15 guest artists, the release shows us an entirely new side of the band while maintaining their identity.   The album has been receiving rave reviews since it’s release.

This year, Sit Kitty Sit was a featured performer at NAMM 2015 as guests of Killer Q Instrument Straps, whose presentation booth went on to win Best In Show. After teaming up with Sleepless Sounds Music Group in Los Angeles, CA to release a new 2015 single and continuing to tour the U.S., Sit Kitty Sit will take the leap over the pond in late October 2015 with their first ever European Tour.   New music and tour dates are always in the works so keep your eyes and ears open in their direction.

Kat Downs is a Musician, Artist, Teacher, Composer and Performer originally from Green Bay, WI.  She began studying music in the 2nd grade continuing on through high school and college earning a BA Degree in Music from St. Norbert College in DePere, WI.  Now based out of San Francisco, CA, Kat’s current projects include the powerhouse Hard Piano Rock duo, Sit Kitty Sit, and the goth rock band, Saints of Ruin. She is the staff composer for Wily West Productions, the Music Consultant for Blue Scorpion Dance Theatre and has an exclusive studio of piano and flute students. Best known for her intense piano playing style and exceptional lyrical compositions, Kat tours nationally and has shared the stage with such names as LP, The Memorials, Chris Wyse, En Esch, Mona Mur, Erica Dilanjian, Shannon Curfman, Lennon, Javier Mosley and WASP.

Mike Thompson is a Drummer, Percussionist, Performer and Arranger hailing from the tiny town containing major talent, Westerly, RI.  He started officially banging on the drums in private lessons at age 10 and went on to star in his award winning high school Jazz, Concert & Marching bands.  He continued feeding his passion for music by studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA under drumming greats such as Jamey Haddad, Rod Morgenstein and Kenwood Dennard earning a BA Degree in Music Performance and Business. Having played in bands such as The Big Nasty and Tokyo Raid, Mike has shared the stage with many other bands and artists such as Gary Clark Jr., Pat Travers, Chris Wyse, John Vanderslice and Javie Mosley.  Now living in the CA Bay Area, he is mainly devoting his time with partner, Kat Downs, to touring nationally and garnering more exposure for their powerhouse Hard Piano Rock duo, Sit Kitty Sit.

Unwed Mothers is a four-piece blues/indie-rock outfit from Edmonton, Alberta that formed in 2012. Making a name for themselves as “the little girl with the big voice”, the band has become known for delivering a high energy, gritty style that boasts fat guitar sounds, heart shaking beats and power house vocals.

The release of their self-titled debut album in the April of 2013 was met with glowing response from multiple publications including (Dallas) saying of the LP: “I’m not usually excited enough about what I hear to share it with everyone. But this album is something completely different”. The 8 track compilation dabbled in multiple genres showing off their stylistic flexibility and impressive lyricism. Within months of forming the band was invited to showcase at Canadian Music Week 2013 in Toronto and soon after their return they were back on the road touring Western Canada. Later tour dates would include stops in the United States with shows in Washington and Oregon. With a steadily growing fan base Unwed Mothers entered the regular rotations on College Radio stations all over Canada charting at #1 on CHRW London, ON and entering the top 20 in multiple other cities. In September the band earned the coveted position of the Sonic 102.9FM Band of the Month which led to some additional exposure including a live performance/interview on Global Edmonton’s Breakfast Television, a live acoustic webisode on Balcony TV and a slot at NXNE 2014 in June. Following their performance at NXNE, Unwed Mothers performed at Boonstock 2014 sharing the stage which popular acts such as Head of the Herd, The Airborne Toxic Event, City and Color and Mother Mother. The group also received two nominations for the Edmonton Music Awards for both “Rock Recording of the Year (Skeletons)” and “People’s Choice”. The band will be releasing a follow-up album titled “Workhorse” this summer.

Unwed Mothers is Julie Adams, Michael James, Jesse Northey and Kurtis Schultz.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Interview with Lance Lopez

There’s no doubt about it, the state of Texas is well known world wide for its fiery blues guitar players.

Even just a cursory look will reveal the state’s rich tradition, which easily rivals Chicago and Mississippi for producing players who have been both originators and contributors to the legacy of the guitar’s significant role in the genre’s history. Dating back to the 1920’s with “Blind” Lemon Jefferson, continuing through the 1950’s with such legends as Freddie King, T-Bone Walker and “Lightning” Hopkins, with the advent of the rock era of the 1960’s the pressure cooker exploded.

Albino blues giant Johnny Winter, from Beaumont, in 1968 was signed to what was then the largest advance in the history of the recording industry—$600,000. Houston’s ZZ Top, with the Reverend Willie G, i.e. Billy F. Gibbons – armed with a ’59 Les Paul- during the 70’s went from being “That little ol’ band from Texas” to being world wide ambassadors with their unique brand of deep blues infused boogie rock.

Although disco and subsequently new wave lessened blues rock’s influence in the late 70’s, by 1983 it was another native Texan, Dallas born Stevie Ray Vaughan, whose combination of raw blues mixed with Hendrix styled pyrotechnics spearheaded yet another resurrection as the genre rose its evil head once again. A breath of much needed fresh air amongst the synth heavy offerings on MTV and radio airwaves of the time, the guitarist’s massive influence has extended long beyond his untimely, tragic death twenty years ago.

One such player whom Vaughan touched the soul of was young, gifted blues/rock axeslinger Lance Lopez. Although born in Shreveport, Louisiana, at the age of 12, his family moved to Dallas, where with the exception of a spell back in New Orleans and Southwest Florida, the guitarist has called his home ever since.

A professional musician since the age of 14 when he began playing local bars in and around the New Orleans, Louisiana area, at 17 he was hired by soul great Johnnie Taylor, with whom he toured for six months. By 18 he was hired as the band leader of blues legend Lucky Peterson’s band, spending three years touring throughout the world.

It was while with Peterson in Europe that he struck up a close friendship with the larger than life drummer Buddy Miles, subsequently becoming the guitarist for The Buddy Miles Express for a brief time. The former Band Of Gypsys legend would go on to mentor Lopez, leading to him co producing his debut album ‘First Things First’, along with Grammy winning producer Jay Newland (Norah Jones) which was released independently in 1998.

From 2003 to 2007 Lopez recorded, and released three studio and one live CD for a small independent label, Grooveyard Records – all of which were heavily influenced by another of the guitarist’s main influences – Jimi Hendrix. Despite the hindrance of being released on such a label, the albums are all prime examples of post Hendrix heavy blues, filled to the brim with awe inspiring fretwork, which led to him garnering a cult following amongst guitar fanatics world wide.

After a three year break, Lopez returned with a Jim Gaines (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, Santana) produced studio album ‘Salvation From Sundown’. Intentionally conceived as a more traditional Texas blues styled offering, it’s the guitarist’s most mature recording to date, showcasing strong songwriting while still retaining the red-hot fretwork which has elicited none other than guitar god Jeff Beck to call him “A very exciting and intense blues guitarist”. His first release on a major label MIG Music/String Commander. In Europe in November 2011 MIG Music released the follow up to ‘Salvation From Sundown’. A very strong Hard Rocking/Blues offering entitled ‘Handmade Music’. ‘Handmade Music’ is full of well crafted songs and Lopez’s signature searing guitar work. Again, Lopez working with Jim Gaines, recorded this entire album in the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. Ardent was also where Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughan, George Thorogood and others made some of their greatest works. ‘Handmade Music’ shows him poised to take his rightful place as one of the finest blues players on the planet. Texas has its guitar heroes, not least of which is Johnny Winter, Billy Gibbons, and the legendary Stevie Ray Vaughan. And here’s another to add to the list: Lance Lopez.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Rich Rock Star Myth...BUSTED!
The Loudini Rock and Roll Circus
Hosted by Lou Lombardi aka "Loudini" & Kevin O'Connor
The Rich Rock Star Myth...BUSTED!

In true myth-busters fashion, Lou (Loudini) and Kevin bust the myth of the “rich rock star”. The times have changed and many well known artists are forced to maintian day jobs and many live below poverty level. Birthday shout outs to Peter Gabriel, Peter Tork (The Monkees) Henry Rollins, Ed Gagliardi (Foreigner Bassist) and Robert Harrell (3 Doors Down Bassist) This week’s featured Loudini artists Simo, The Fumes, and King Mug. All this and Pittsburgh Kevin!

“Simo spins soulful psychedelic blues rock with an improvisational bent reminiscent of the Grateful Dead and Stevie Ray Vaughan.”
As if creeping from the Southern swamps and mist-soaked cotton fields, SIMO’s “Stranger Blues” is the perfect table setter for the Nashville power trio’s vibrant new LP, Let Love Show the Way. The song is a blueprint for reinvigorating the fusion of jazz improvisation, downhome blues and classic R&B, as well as these genres’ psychedelic Brit Invasion and countrified Southern-rock manifestations. The rest of the record follows suit, a souped-up vehicle transporting the band on a deeply satisfying, off-the-cuff musical journey.
Cut entirely live in full, unbroken takes—vocals and solos included—the sound is primal, sweltering and immediate. “We live and die by the take,” says singer-guitarist JD Simo. “We don’t edit, and if there are overdubs, they’re minimal. I want it to be unaffected and pure. For me, the music that always resonates most is when a performance is captured. That’s what I love, and that’s what we go for.”
The first album ever recorded at Macon, Ga.’s Big House—the communal home of the Allman Brothers Band during their late ‘60s/early ‘70s heyday—Let Love Show the Way finds SIMO not just reveling in the hallowed space’s unique mojo and history, but taking it to a fresh and inspired place. As a musical unit, Simo, his longtime drummer Adam Abrashoff and bassist Elad Shapiro have an undeniable chemistry, taken to even greater heights with JD playing Duane Allman’s 1957 gold-top Les Paul for every track on the record. This is the same six-string heard on the first two Allman Brothers LPs, the same storied guitar that delivered the unforgettable riff on Derek & the Dominoes’ “Layla.” JD is now part of an elite group of artists—including Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes and Wilco’s Nels Cline—who share the rare honor of having wielded this talismanic instrument.
“There’s definitely a magical element to the recording,” Simo says of Let Love Show the Way. “The vibe of the Big House, using Duane’s guitar, plus all the touring we’d done leading up to it, all the refinement of the material on the road—it was a perfect storm.”
Let Love Show the Way was not planned—results this potent are difficult to script. In fact, when SIMO headed down to Macon, the band had an entirely different set of songs already approved for release by its label, Mascot—this last-minute trip to the Big House was merely intended to yield a pair of bonus tracks for a deluxe edition. But with engineer Nick Worley at the boards of a stripped-down mobile recording unit, the band caught fire, burning through more than a dozen tracks in less than 48 hours. Once they heard the raw and electrifying intensity of the mixes, they didn’t think twice about abandoning the original plan and rolling with what suddenly felt so right.
“As the producer of the project, I couldn’t live myself if we didn’t use these songs,” Simo says. “I just felt it was better than anything the band had ever captured—so we decided to scrap the original record and build this new one around everything we recorded at the Big House.”
This choice to record at this historic location is a nod to JD’s lifelong reverence and respect for the musical pioneers who have come before him. When he was just three years old, seeing The Blues Brothers and Elvis Presley’s ’68 comeback special changed his life. “I was transfixed,” he says. “With The Blues Brothers, you’ve got John Lee Hooker with Muddy Waters’ band, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, James Brown, Chaka Khan right after she made one of my favorite records of all time with Rufus, Rags to Riches. Not to mention some of the greatest rhythm & blues musicians to ever walk the planet—Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy from Chess, that incredible original horn section from Saturday Night Live, Willie Hall from Stax, who played with Isaac Hayes. I mean, it’s a comedy and it’s funny, but as far as exposure to some really heavy music—I wanted to be Steve Cropper, I wanted to be John Lee Hooker. And it was the same with the Elvis special—he’s in the black leather suit, still good looking and charming and singing his ass off. Seeing The Blues Brothers and that Elvis comeback special made me want to play music.”
By the time he was five, JD was begging his parents for a guitar. They obliged, and by age 10—much like his peers Derek Trucks and Joe Bonamassa—he was regularly playing bars backed by older musicians. By 15, he’d dropped out of school, put his own band together and was touring full time. “For six years,” he says, “I just lived in a van and played all over the country and never really had a home.”
When he was 21, JD moved to Nashville, where—after making a living as a session guitarist and moonlighting in bar bands for half a decade—he made an important decision. Though he’d learned much from his experiences as a sideman, the time had come for him to pursue his own muse. He met likeminded musician Abrashoff and original SIMO bassist Frank Swart, and they set off on a journey together, hitting the road hard and honing their craft. During this time, the group also recorded its self-titled 2012 debut LP, which Rolling Stone later hailed as “soulful psychedelic blues rock with an improvisational bent.” Eventually, Swart left the band, making way for Shapiro to join on bass. “When we played with him it was so immediate,” JD says. “It was like, ‘Where the hell have you been?’”
While Simo is comfortable with his role as a bandleader, he’s never wanted to be a solo artist. “A band is something very unique and special,” he says. “You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with. Adam is one of my best friends. He and I have been through the whole scope of the journey so far together. And now, with Elad—who has taken the band to a new level—we truly are a team. We’re brothers.”
It’s a sentiment that’s reflected in the band’s egalitarian/improvisational approach to songwriting, even in the way SIMO sets up for shows—in a straight line across the stage, with no member given more weight than any other. “I can’t emphasize enough how much I love these guys and what they bring to our sound,” JD says.” Adam is an absolutely immaculate improviser. He’s completely free and technically the best musician in the band. I’ve done hundreds of shows with him, and I still don’t know what he’s gonna do or where he’s gonna take things—it’s inspiring. And Elad, he completes my musical thoughts. He is full of passion and enthusiasm and authenticity. He has absolutely no filter, both socially—which is hilarious—and musically, which is always incredible. In many ways, he’s the heart and soul of the band.”
Together, they’re an adventurous rock & roll trinity, a thriving creative partnership completed by JD’s combustible guitar playing and soulful vocals, and Let Love Show the Way is a game-changing album from a band in the midst of an evolutionary breakthrough. “I’m a stranger here,” JD belts on the record’s opening salvo, all mysterious swagger and smoky, downhome grit. But for a band with such with such memorable songs, uncommon rapport and awe-inspiring musicality, SIMO can take solace in knowing the line won’t hold true much longer.

Band Members
Steve Merry - Guitar/Vocals
Jacob Mann - Drums
Ryan Hazell - Bass/ Guitars

Riff rockin blues kings The Fumes have reignited with a fierce energy and a new line up proving themselves to fans over a recent run of east coast shows that they’re back and sounding meaner than ever in 2015

The band is now rolling as a three piece with producer Ryan Hazell (The Drones, The Snowdroppers, Green Buzzard) stepping in on bass as a new full time member. Expect a cocktail of dirty tones and swaying melody that will move your boozy self wherever feels best. The Fumes soul remains, a new chapter begins. 

Roll back a few years and the band were mixing it with heavy hitters, supporting the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, Clutch, Calexico, Hoodoo Gurus, The Cruel Sea, and major festival appearances like Fuji Rock (Jap), CMJ music marathon, SXSW Austin Texis, Bluesfest, Falls Festival…

Their new upcoming album “Bloodless” is set for release in Nov. 

At times it’s like they’ve taken on bovver duties for all parts of your body and maybe a wall or two. Herd-fisted blues rock is the go in scorchers like Slay The Liar but that’s not the only ingredient with a touch of the garage and the delta, some swaggering Beats Of Bourbon style. 

It sounds just like the band does live: raw, volatile, and dangerous. Music Feeds

The Fumes, play the blues. Really loud. And really well.
No bullshit here, and that’s what makes them so damn appealing. There’s only two things that one needs to know when seeing these guys live – they ARE The Fumes and you WILL be buying a t-shirt. AU Review

‘The Fumes play sweaty, dirty man blues amid jolts of rock that lurch and veer between metal and, say, the Kings Of Leon. Trust me, the Fumes are smokin’. THE WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN

They joined forces in Los Angeles for a marathon session that gave birth to an album of hard blues, blue eyed soul, heavy rock, and feedback! “Victory Motel Sessions”.
If you dig the bands these musicians come from you will probably love this record!