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New Folk – Stephen Simmons – The Big Show

So let’s see, in 2001  The Superstore the debut album of  Stephen Simmons is released. The album was collection of  earlier songs captured at a live solo show. That was followed in 2004 by Last Call Simmons’ debut album with a band. Now it’s 2011 that’s ten years from the debut album and seven from the sophomore release and Edward finds Stephen’s new album (now Simmons’ sixth) on the Roots Music Reports Folk Chart at number 39. He goes and looks for it on Napster, hum too many 30 second clips. So he settles for Girls Stephen’s 2009 release. He hears some fine crafted songs with lyrics like:

….she caught me with her best friend,
she caught me with my shirt undone and  my pride tucked in
Oh Allison, Oh, Allison, looks like we’ll have to try again.

and

… have you ever heard the one where a man walks into a bar,
picks up a girl and falls in love,
like a dog that finally caught that car

Edward kicks himself for not finding this guy sooner! He waits two days for his emusic account to refresh and goes and downloads album six The Big Show. 
He finds the music a little more varied, i.e more up-tempo songs with a little more alt-country, Anericana sound from an artist who has been compared to  Johnny Cash, Ryan Adams, John Prine and Tom Petty. Songs like “The Circus”, “C’mon World”, “Kool in Nashville” and “Hedley’s Bend” stand out.  But wait Edward just discovered that he only downloaded 12 of the 20 tracks! So now that’s corrected and the lost tracks are now playing as I write!

So now back to The Big Show which was produced by Stephen and longtime producer Eric Fritsch (Sheryl Crow, Scott Miller), who also plays guitar and Hammond organ on some tracks. Others who help out include bassists Dave Jacques (John Prine, Shelby Lynne) and Tim Marks (Taylor Swift, Will Hoge), drummers Matt Crouse (Sheryl Crow, Michelle Wright) and Paul Griffith (k.d. lang, Todd Snider), keyboardist Jen Gunderman (The Jayhawks), steel guitar player Alex McCollough (The Wrights) and guitarist Dave Coleman (The Coal Men). Stephen and Eric did a great job of  matching the strengths of each these individual’s playing style with the right song.  Many tracks feature Stephen alone, accompanied only by  acoustic guitar and a harmonica.

So if you’ve never heard Stephen Simmons check out this great album! As for me I’ve got the rest of The Big Show to check out and then Last Call is already on the iPod, but then there’s 2004’s Drink Ring Jesus and 2007’s Something in Between damn 10 years is a long time!!

Here’s “Shine” from The Big Show”