Shortly after Blues All Around was completed, Savoy Brown founder, guitarist/singer/songwriter Kim Simmonds lost his hard-fought battle with cancer on December 13th, just a week after turning 75. While recuperating from his initial cancer treatments, Simmonds had begun work on the new album that was to become Blues All Around.
Kim’s death was announced on his Facebook page December 15th with the notation, “One of Kim’s last requests was to thank the fans of Savoy Brown. Your support was, and shall always be, immensely appreciated.”
He first shared the news of his health on a Facebook post last August. At that time, he acknowledged that he needed to suspend his live performances for the year. He was originally diagnosed in September 2021 and surgery at that time “kept me going with a decent quality of life,” but chemotherapy made it difficult for him to perform. Simmonds noted that one of the side effects is peripheral neuropathy, which deadened the nerves in his fingers and hands.
Blues All Around follows Savoy Brown’s critically acclaimed 2022 album, Ain’t Done Yet, and is lovingly dedicated to the band’s families, friends and Savoy Brown fans everywhere.
“The new album continues the approach I’ve been taking with the band this past decade,” said Kim Simmonds at the time of the sessions. Kim formed Savoy Brown in 1965 in London, England, and it has been one of the longest running Blues Rock bands in existence. “The big difference with the new album is the multi-layer approach I took to recording the guitar parts. It’s all blues-based rock music. I try to find new and progressive ways to write and play the music I’ve loved since I was a teenager,” he said.
Blues All Around showcases Kim Simmonds’ most-inspired guitar work and expressive vocals, since his illness during the recording sessions lead him to play a great deal more slide guitar than on previous albums.
Longtime fan and critic favorites, Savoy Brown birthed in London 57 years ago and has been based in upstate New York for many years. Kim Simmonds had been the group’s guiding hand from the first singles released in 1966 through this newest effort, Savoy Brown’s 42nd album. On the new record, Simmonds (guitar, harmonica, organ and vocals) was once again joined by his long-running bandmates Pat DeSalvo (bass) and Garnet Grimm (drums/percussion).
“I enjoyed making this album perhaps because I approached the recording in a different manner from the usual ‘Live in the studio’ format I’ve always used,” Simmonds says in the album liner notes.
“Here’s how it went. My tracks, guitar, vocal, etc., were laid down first. Pat and Garnet then added bass, drums and percussion and the whole process worked beautifully. They clinched the deal using my tracks as a guide. Brilliant work. They’re heaven sent. The concept wasn’t my brainchild. Studio owner and engineer Ron Keck suggested the approach to make things easier, due to my failing health and I’m forever grateful.
“John Shelmet was another angel in the preparation stages. He suggested I play slide guitar when the neuropathy affecting my fingers made single string playing difficult. Good idea!!
“My wife Debbie was a great help as well in the mixing stage. She added an extra set of ears and a source of helpful suggestions as we moved along … often at lightning pace.
“You have to be quick on your feet in the recording of an album. Things not working have to be put aside and new ideas have to be decided upon quickly so the creative forces don’t grind to a halt. I do have a quick mind which helps …. and sometimes hinders! I do push events forward rapidly. Life is energy. Music is energy.
“Enjoy listening to this set of energetic blues/rock songs as much as I’ve enjoyed making it.”