Rise & Shine, SIMO’s new album, widens their sound. Stretching beyond preconceived notions and producing a nuanced record reflecting their views, talents, and ultimately their growth.
Rise & Shin began taking shape on the road, where SIMO's three bandmates — singer, guitarist and namesake frontman JD Simo; drummer Adam Abrashoff; and bassist Elad Shapiro — spent most of 2016 on tour. They played 215 shows that year, leaving behind their Nashville headquarters and traveling to nine different countries in support of their Billboard Top 10 blues album, et Love Show the Wa . The guys worked on new music along the way, hashing out chord changes in hotel rooms and tweaking song arrangements during soundcheck. It was a time of growth and self-improvement for everyone. They became better friends, better musicians, better people. At the same time, the outside world was changing. Political pundits were screaming at one another. Elections were pitting candidate against candidate, party against party, neighbor against neighbor. The need to write music that truly eant something — music that not only demonstrated the band's explosive chops, but also sent a clear message — was greater than ever.
"This is an album about change," says JD. "We looked at what's been happening in our own lives, as well as what's been happening in the world. Everyone is changing: personally, politically, socially. We've seen it. We've felt it. And we're writing about it."
Rise & Shin introduces the band's elastic, expanded sound, which blurs the lines between genres and generations throughout the album's 11 tracks. SIMO's previous release, et Love Show the Wa , was a spot-on salute to the band's rock & roll influences, full of big amplifiers, vintage vibe, and plenty of volume. ise & Shin doesn't ignore those roots, but it pushes toward something new. Eager to explore uncharted territory, the guys make room for slow-smoked soul ballads ("I Want Love"); psychedelic desert-rock instrumentals ("The Climb"); hard-edged, bluesy barn burners ("Light the Candle"); and Stax-worthy funk rockers ("Meditation"). Gluing everything together is the charisma and chemistry of three musicians who spent more than 300 days together last year, mastering the art not only of nodding to the past, but looking ahead to the future too.
"If you go through my record collection and look at the more contemporary titles," JD explains, "you'll see the Roots, Wilco, Alabama Shakes, and Ryan Adams. I listen to a lot of old soul music, too. Isaac Hayes. Funkadelic. Bob Dylan. On here’s More to All of This... , I was just trying to cull from the vastness that is my normal music diet, and not trying to pander to some target that was easy to hit."
SIMO began recording ise & Shin in February 2017, producing the album themselves (with help from engineer Don Bates) in Nashville's House of Blues Studio D. They moved at their own deliberate pace, taking more than a month to record the album.
"There was a lot more sonic experimentation going on," remembers Adam. “Every track has a different sonic imprint” JD adds. “We took great care to make each track’s sonic identity match the mood of the song. Even though that meant starting from scratch every day with how the studio was setup.”
They pulled long hours, too, arriving around 3 p.m. every day and staying until 5 or 6 in the morning.
"There are certain records that stick out in my mind as sounding like they were made in the middle of the night," says JD, who remembers recording the song "Be With You" in a single take at 5:15 a.m. "When Frank Sinatra sings “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)” to me it sounds like 2 am. Bob Dylan’s “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” sounds like 3 or 4 in the morning. There were certain songs of ours that I knew would benefit from that nighttime feel, where you're up and working while the rest of the world is asleep."
A former session guitarist who’s played on nearly 500 albums, JD didn't take ise & Shine’slengthy creation process for granted. "I've never worked on a record that took this long to record," he adds. "I was so grateful to have that opportunity.”
Impassioned vocals that call to mind Prince or Al Green. Rhythm tracks inspired by the fatback swagger of Isaac Hayes and funky spirit of D’Angelo. Lush, highly detailed sonic landscapes reminiscent of Pink Floyd. Raw, naked songwriting that lifts the veil for the listener to see all the frailty and ugly parts as well as the beautiful. ise & Shine akes room for it all, with SIMO looking not to recreate old sounds, but invent new ones. It's the band's most expansive album to date — the work of a band at its curious, adventurous peak.
The Summit is a nationally touring rock band from Cincinnati dedicated to quality song-writing and performing. Put together by former Grooveshire members, Chris Scott and Mike Hennel, The Summit is a rock ‘n’ rollsuper group exploding with some of the country’s most decorated musicians. Fresh from both publishing and licensing deals in Nashville, TN and Scott’s collaboration with former Cage the ElephantGuitarist and Talkbox Rodeo producer, Lincoln Parish, the song writing duo made their way back home during the fall of 2015 to begin writing a new batch of tunes with Cincinnati’s own songwriting duo, David Heffron and Micah Hoosier. Magic instantly happened and the quartet quickly began polishing a whole new flare of soul inspired blues rock ‘n’ roll tunes very reminiscent of modern day song-writing genius, JJ Grey, fused with the vintage tones of iconic English rock bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Faces, and Humble Pie. In early 2016, the band hired accomplished pianist and heavy blues hitter, Chris Bentley, to provide a much needed B3 organ to the group’s unmatched eclectic sound.
The Summit rapidly gained overnight success during the spring of 2016 with their highly energized performances and were asked to tour with bands such as the Los Lonely Boys, The Band of Heathens, Tim Reynolds and TR3, Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown, Marc Ford, and The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band.
With the evolution of the band’s success came a record deal with Independent Ear (Universal Music Group/ILS). The Summit quickly began acquiring a national fan base and sparked the interest of some of the industry’s most recognizable entertainment companies. It was then that they decided to invite acclaimed soul-singing back-up vocalists, Da’Joy, to join the group on the road. Both Daria Acus and Melonie “Lady Joya” Kennedy were popular fixtures in Scott and Hennel’s previous rock outfit, Grooveshire. It’s a little Black Crowes, a little Humble Pie, and hell of a lot of soul! You may be able to recognize many of this band’s numerous influences in their amazing sound, but one thing’s for sure…you can’t fake soul and this band’s got soul!”
The Summit left Cincinnati once again in November 2016 to begin recording their debut EP with engineer and co-producers Brook Sutton and Michael Rhodes (Tempest Music) at The Studio Nashville. The self-titled EP dropped worldwide under Independent Ear and the Universal Music Group in April of 2017. The EP features tracks by Big Machine (Cheap Trick, Cadillac Three, Taylor Swift) touring artist, Klaus Luchs and amazing multi-instrumentalist, Andrea Whitt (Shania Twain, Zucchero).
After its release, the band’s single entitled “Nicola Jane” quickly hit radio and satellite stations across the country. With its wide spread airplay and placement, the band grabbed the attention of rock legend Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and were invited to join the rockers on their fall 2017 Tonnage tour. The Summit was humbled to realize that BFG had taken a keen interest in the band’s sound while on tour and is set to produce a series of tracks on their upcoming 2018 release.