Kim Simmonds, co-founder of British blues-rock staples Savoy Brown, has been talking about his remarkable 52 years at the helm of the fast-moving line-up, and plans for a new studio album. (Above photo: Candie Kates).
Since they began, more than 60 musicians have played in the band. Simmonds has fronted the group as a trio since 2012 with bassist Pat DeSalvo and drummer Garnet Grimm. Formed in London in 1965. They became a fixture on the burgeoning blues-rock scene in the UK in the second half of the decade. Savoy Brown never achieved the record success in their own country that was enjoyed by such proponents of the genre as Fleetwood Mac or John Mayall; indeed their UK chart life consisted of precisely one week at No. 50 for 1970’s Decca album Looking In.
But their popularity was more palpable in the US, where Savoy Brown had no fewer than 11 albums that made the top 200 between 1969 and 1981, including top 40 entries for Looking In and 1972’s Hellbound Train. The latter-day line-up may not enjoy such attention, but they continue to thrive, with a packed tour diary.
After a recent run of US shows, the band have further shows in May including one at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York. Further dates are booked through October. “I still write new songs and rehearse every day,” says Simmonds. “I have a new album planned for 2017. If you don’t keep finding the muse, you lose it.” The album will be released by the independent blues-rock label Ruf Records.
In advance of the new studio project, Savoy Brown recently released Still Live After 50 Years, Vol. 2, which follows 2015’s first volume. It marks the 50th anniversary of their debut album on Decca, Shake Down, which showcased their blues pedigree with covers of B.B. King, John Lee Hooker and Willie Dixon.
Simmonds recently told the Houston Press: “Chicago electric blues, that style…it had weight and honesty and girth to it. Just because you love one kind of blues doesn’t mean you have to love all of it. But there’s an honesty there that is of most importance to me, that is most satisfying.”