J. D. Simo
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JD performing with SIMO in 2014
|Born||Chicago, Illinois, United States|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, singer, songwriter, producer|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, keyboards|
|Labels||Mascot Label Group, Crowesfeet Music Group|
|Associated acts||SIMO, Phil Lesh and Friends, Tommy Emmanuel, Luther Dickinson|
Simo grew up in Chicago. He began playing guitar at the age of five. By age 15, Simo had already formed a band and released a live EP recorded in Phoenix Arizona, which sold 5,000 copies. He quickly earned a strong local following in the Phoenix area and spent most of his teenage years touring, either in his own solo endeavors or in various other bands.
In the winter of 2006 he moved to Nashville, Tennessee where he established himself as the lead guitarist in the Don Kelley Band. This led to Simo's employment as an in-demand session musician. Simo continued to play in this capacity until 2011.
In the beginning of 2010, he joined bassist Frank Swart and drummer Adam Abrashoff to form the rock band SIMO. They spent much of 2011 on tour and released their debut album in November. They closed out the year with a homecoming show at The Basement in Nashville, the site of their first show. Sundazed Records released a vinyl single of Shake It/AoH off their debut album on January 25, 2013. SIMO was featured at several festivals including Mountain Jam and Bonnaroo in the summer of 2013.
In 2015 the band opened for artists including Gregg Allman, Deep Purple, Blackberry Smoke, and Trigger Hippy. Also Elad Shapiro joined in early 2015 solidifying the lineup. In August, JD participated in the 100th Birthday celebration for Les Paul in Paul' hometown of Waukesha, WI with other guests Rick Nielsen of [Cheap Trick] and Greg Koch.
In June 2015 the group signed with Mascot Label Group. They finished their second record entitled Let Love Show the Way at the Allman Brothers former residence in Macon, Georgia which was released January 29, 2016 on CD, Vinyl and digital download.
The album debuted at number 4 on the Billboard Blues chart in January 2016. The album garnered rave reviews and numerous national and international press such as No Depression, Rolling Stone, Guitar Player, Relix, Guitar World and NPR. The band was featured on NPR's World Cafe which was broadcast nationally after the initial broadcast in late January on Philadelphia's WXPN. As a result, the band was featured at the annual Non Comm Festival the following June, which garnered positive reviews from their closing set for the convention. The band started its first full national tour in January 2016. Bringing them to over 37 states in just under 4 months, playing over 80 shows. However, in the middle of the tour, they returned a second time to Europe where JD sustained a dislocated knee the first night of the tour in Paris. The show was postponed but the tour resumed the following day with JD having to sit for the rest of the performances. JD finally healed by late May and was able to perform standing again. US touring resumed with opening dates for Blackberry Smoke as well as headline dates including the NYC sell out show at the Mercury Lounge.
The group returned to Europe yet again at the end of June to start their third European tour in Italy. Then their first festival headline slot at Puisto Blues Festival in Finland for more than six thousand fans. Festival slots at Cornbury Music Festival and Ramblin' Man Fair in the UK, Bospop in the Netherlands, The Guitarra Festival in France and Burg Herzberg Festival in Germany followed. More positive reviews and national press followed as a result of their performances at all these national festivals.
The group started another American tour in August, while starting work on the follow up to "Let Love Show the Way". The wrapped up their last American tour of 2016 in mid October, closing out 128 domestic dates for the year. They embarked on their 4th tour of Europe, their first headlining, on October 28 with a taping of the legendary German Television show Rockpalast. They finished the tour with sell out shows in London and Helsinki. At the London show they received the "Best Live Act of 2016" award from Bluebird Reviews Music Awards. At the close of 2016 they had performed 215 shows, in 9 countries. Sessions for the follow up album to "Let Love Show The Way" where due to start in January 2017 in Nashville. Interviews leading up to the break in December hinted at a more Pysch Soul approach, siting Alabama Shakes Sound and Color, Isaac Hayes Hot Buttered Soul and Funkadelic's Maggot Brain as group favorites at the time.
The group spent over 4 months total to make their sophomore album "Rise and Shine". Taking a completely different approach than any of their previous work, they experimented and stretched to make a highly detailed loosely based concept piece. JD claimed that much of the lyrical content was autobiographical and was hard for him to listen to at times because of its revealing nature. The album was released on September 15, 2017.
In the beginning of 2018, JD embarked on his first solo tour opening for Tommy Emmanuel. Also appearing as a guest on Tommy's [Accomplice One] album. JD continued to tour throughout the spring and summer with a revolving cast of friends resulting in the recording of his first solo album in August. In June JD played his first show as a member of Phil Lesh and Friends at Lesh's Terrapin Crossroads. Billed as Phil Lesh and Friends "Dead Blues", JD joined good friend Luther Dickinson, his brother Cody, John Medeski, Tash Neal and Grahame Lesh. In July JD headlined the 50th anniversary of the Burg Herzberg Festival in Germany. The longest running and biggest hippie music festival in Europe. The German television show Rockpalast was on hand to film Simo's set for an episode in the upcoming season.
In August he embarked on a summer tour as special guest to Joanne Shaw Taylor in the US. Playing shows in the northeast, southeast and Florida. In January 2019 it was announced that JD's first solo album, "OFF AT 11" would be released on March 1. The album is composed of old school blues and more psychedelic free form rock. JD produced the album and recorded it in his new studio "The Friendly Confines" in Nashville, TN. A new tour to support the album was also announced with US and European dates stretching into the summer including more support shows with Tommy Emmanuel and The Allman Betts Band.
- Burning Live EP (2000)
- One Night Stand (2002)
- The Other Side of Me (2004)
- J.D. Simo Live! (2005)
- SIMO (2011) (album)
- Shake It/Aoh (single, 2011)
- Love Vol. 1 (2015) (four song EP recorded live at Mercy Lounge, Nashville)
- Let Love Show The Way (2016) (album)
- Rise & Shine (2017)