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Nashville bluesman JD Simo weaves a tangled web on Mind Control

JD Simo's Mind Control follows the blues down more experimental paths than most guitar heroes

JD Simo - Mind Control cover art
(Image: © Crows Feet Records, Inc.)

Having gone from gritty blues rock towards soul and psychedelia over the course of his first two solo albums, on his third in two years this Tennessee-based Chicagoan follows another stylistic fork in the road. 

The hypnotic, faintly Liebezeit-like rhythm underpinning six-minute opener Go Away Satan sets us off following the blues down more experimental paths than most guitar heroes prefer to explore, Simo not afraid to take the focus away from his undoubtedly formidable guitar playing in search of a more atmospheric, immersive soundscape. 

His gamble pays off when rumbling bass and anxious percussion rumble weave and worry around sparse stabs of guitar on That’s When You Know That You’re Down, as his disgruntled growl borders on Tom Waits territory. 

The brooding bass creep of People Pleaser is just as arresting, while the swampy grooves of Let Go and Devil Is Always Watchin’ are as addictive as they are claustrophobic.

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock