KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There are many legends about who was the original blues musician, but most people agree that guitarist Robert Johnson’s story basically kicked off the modern era of blues.
Johnson was notoriously known as a bad guitar player, but in the late 1920’s, Johnson left Robinsonville, Mississippi, and somehow came back a master of the instrument. The legend is that Johnson went to a crossroads and sold his soul to the devil for his talent.
Johnson’s style and skill can still be heard in modern day musicians like JD Simo. He says when he’s onstage, sometimes everything comes together just right.
“There’s nights when you’re free enough, you do something really radical.” Simo said. “I remember times where Adam, who plays drums in the band, he’ll reach behind him and grab a fan and start playing on that. Those are the night’s that end up being something special.”
Simo’s signature sound is a mix of much more than Johnson. You can also hear notes of psychedelic-rock and jazz. Simo said he originally wanted to keep his first-solo release like a sound from the 50’s, but after talking with co-founding member of the Grateful Dead, Phil Lesh, Simo decided to keep an open mind with the music.
You can hear Simo’s and host Kendall Swank talk about that, and listen to the music of Simo’s music.
Listen to more incredible musicians in other episodes of the Crazeology podcast.