If you don’t already know the name Simi Stone, then you may well recognise her as part of The Duke & The King, the quartet, for whom she sang and also played violin, in a line-up which also featured Simone Felice. As a result, Simi has already had her share of attention having already toured the world between 2007-2009,including many leading festivals and an appearance on BBC TV’s Later With Jools. She’s spent some years living n both NYC and Chicago, but hails from Woodstock in the Catskills. To a large degree her beautiful, free spirited soulful sound comes out of a childhood, rich in arts and culture, safe and secure, mixed with a bucolic, barefoot innocence. Simi started making music when she was young, getting her first violin lessons from a neighbourly jazz musician.
Since her days with The Duke & The King she spent her time patiently building up a strong following on the New York live scene in many of the city’s leading clubs and theatres. Recently she’s toured with Natalie Merchant as both support act and as part of the former 10,000 Maniacs’ singer’s band. Having more recently been asked to support Simone Felice, but having no record of her own, Simi recorded an EP with producer David Baron. That project has now resulted in her self-titled debut full length album, with David again at the controls, funded in part by a pledge campaign. The album will be released in June, but here’s a first taste with a video premiere of the track Good Friend made by Samuel Centore.
Simi describes her soulful sound as Mountain Motown, which has a certain ring. To these ears, however, there’s perhaps a little touch of the upstate New York Tendaberry vibes of Laura Nyro’s Stoned Soul Picnic, or even a northern take on Alabama Shakes with less rootsy grit and more of the Brill Building about it, any which way you like, it’s truly gorgeous stuff.
Simi Stone is Released June 8th 2015 via Reveal Records
Pre-Order it via the Reveal Record Store