November 3, 2021

It really wasn’t that long ago that Joe Bonamassa was a little known name in the UK and he is now just about as big as they come. I remember reviewing his early live album A New Day Yesterday Live and thought that this was a musician destined to go to the top but his spectacular rise has been even more than I ever thought it would be. It’s great to see that talent, hard work and, no doubt, a little luck can still propel musicians to a stratospheric career.

Now, step forward JD Simo, an artist that you may already be aware of but if not then please make a note of the name as this essential singer, guitarist and songwriter oozes skill and talent with his psychedelic, blues infused and soul drenched rock and roll. A musician cut from the same cloth as Clapton, Peter Green, George Thorogood, Stevie Ray Vaughan -and Joe Bonamassa – this Chicago born but Nashville based musician is a bluesman who has expanded his sound to incorporate psychedelic rock and a healthy dose of soul to make a hybrid blues that is uniquely his own. He has already released several albums beginning with his band simply called Simo which he has since retired and now he operates under the title of JD Simo although the format of both bands remains effectively the same which is, effectively, a power trio of accomplished musicians who are very prone to experimentation and flying off in totally unexpected directions. Simo has kept drummer Adam Abrashoff with him from the early days of the band Simo so they have an almost telepathic relationship that comes from closely working with someone for 11–years and they just blend so well together with Adam Bednarik now coming in on the act and his sweet, punchy bass is the perfect counter-point to Simo’s remarkably expressive guitar skills.

Last year’s album, JD Simo saw soul becoming more prominent in his sound as the album featured some truly exceptional covers of material by James Brown, Willie Johnson, Earl Hooker and Isaac Hayes and his interpretation of their music is something to hear and rejoice in. Mind Control sees a back to basics Simo reverting to a more traditional blues sound but still with his trademark reverb and distortion giving everything a wonderful 60’s type retro sound but his music is homage to those simpler times rather than a case of living in the past. JD Simo is most definitely a blues musician for the modern age and his fuzz filled sounds really should be the template for exploratory blues for the next 10-years. A feature of his albums always used to be at least one lengthy track where the rule book went out of the window as he went on a voyage of discovery that truly thrilled but the last couple of albums have seen him offering shorter songs but all still amazingly crammed with intrepid ideas, exploration with a sense of wonder and superb musicianship that leave you with a true sense of awe for the man and his music.

The music is still full of class and style but, somehow, he has managed to infuse his sounds with a touch of rawness that speaks volumes and is a real taste of the old, traditional blues but still wrapped with an R&B and psychedelic coating that gives the album such an atmosphere and a real live vibe. Words can only say so much but this is one musician you have to give your heart and soul to and he repays you many times over with his gorgeous and sumptuous music in which so much is happening and the depth is immensely deep which is so amazing given that it consists purely of guitar bass and drums alone and I guess that is why music at its best is just so magical. JD Simo is a musician who makes superior blues albums with a difference and is truly unlike any other musician you will hear and that is why you have to give him your time and attention.

This is another essential album from a masterful musician and you simply must add it to your collection immediately, trust me, you will not be disappointed to become acquainted with a real force of nature and a musician without equal. Somewhere, the ghost of Jimi Hendrix is watching and nodding in appreciation!

Mind Control

  1. Go Away Satan (6:15)
  2. I’m In Love (5:51)
  3. Let Go (3:55)
  4. Know It All (5:55)
  5. Want What I Don’t Have (3:15)
  6. That’s When You Know That You’re Down (3:46)
  7. Fucked Up (2:58)
  8. Devil Is Always Watchin’ (2:40)
  9. People Pleaser (5:00
  10. Recovery (5:25)