- This Gig has passed.
October 16 @ 7:30 pm
JD Simo’s brand of blues is like the surge of sound from a classic car, say a Chevy V-8. It starts with a roar, then a rumble. Then a low, throaty hum. The explosion of the gas in the cylinders are like emotional triggers – liberating, visceral. Intense.
JD Simo’s style of blues reminds us of that Chevy V-8. He’s a classic car, hard-charging, built for speed. But like a good mechanic, he knows what’s under the hood. He’s learned the intricacies, the subtleties, the nuance, of the car. The same way he’s learned the blues.
On Off At 11, you can almost touch the ghosts of the brilliant, wounded masters of the blues who have shaped and guided his art and craft.
“The blues, it’s grown folks music,” Simo says from his home in Nashville. “The blues is not for kids. Blues to me, it’s an art form. It’s not supposed to be flashy. And that fools a lot of people.”
Simo has channeled life experience into a conversation about life experience. “There isn’t a single way to express the blues, thank God,” he chuckles. “You can be joyful or plaintive, all in the same song. And there are always two sides of me when I play, because I’m eternally obsessed with both. There’s my love for obscure black music from the Forties and Fifties, and how I choose to relate to them. There’s also my trippy, psychedelic side, the possibilities that the Dead and the Allmans present. Or where John McLaughlin points me on Bitches Brew.”
Born and raised on Chicago’s South Side, Simo grew up in the Lincoln Heights section over a bar that his father owned called The Store. “I started playing when I was 4 or 5. I was playing in bars like Blues on Halstead and Kingston Mines. I was making money by the time I was in the seventh and eighth grades.”
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