Predicted to be the next Irish guitar hero in the footsteps of Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore, Belfast resident and former Young Guitarist of the Year McBride has undeniable guitar artistry combined with a fine voice and a real knack for creating memorable hooks and great melodies.
His latest CD, Crossing The Line, is a fiery amalgam of guitar skills, song craft and character-soaked vocals, spinning tales of girls, gambling and corporate avarice. Recorded in Northern Ireland and The USA, mixing of the album was placed in the experienced hands of New York-based Peter Denenberg, the veteran producer and engineer whose CV takes in everyone from Deep Purple to the Spin Doctors and Robert Cray. Industry critics reckon this is the album that truly delivers on McBride’s potential and kicks out a chair at the top table of Blues-rock, a genre that is enjoying a renaissance of popularity.
Rewind to the early-’90s, and you didn’t have to squint to spot future greatness in the unassuming kid from Belfast, who picked up his first guitar at ten and eschewed formal lessons to bend his fingers around the music of Free, Jeff Beck and Hendrix. Aged 15, Simon won Guitarist’s hotly-contested Young Guitarist of the Year competition in a Wembley Conference Centre showdown, and at 16, he turned pro, leaving education behind as a hired gun in projects that ranged from metal with Sweet Savage, to R&B and soul with ex-Commitments vocalist Andrew Strong.
Even by the lofty standards of Northern Ireland, where drinkers still raise a toast to the audacious talent of the late Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore, this young maestro’s name was soon starting to be dropped in the same reverential breath. Certainly, Simon is a fan, and the energy and aggression of his live show recalls those much-missed Irish masters, but when he released his debut album Rich Man Falling in 2008, it was clear this musician was nobody’s heir, but rather his own artist.
A UK tour opening for guitar wizard Joe Satriani gave Simon’s profile a boost, while he proved his appeal reached far beyond guitar nuts with a set at Glastonbury 2011, and Don Airey’s Soul and Blues Festival. He has also supported Jeff Beck and Joe Bonamassa, and earlier in the year flew to Las Vegas to jam with world famous drummer Cindy Blackman (aka Mrs Carlos Santana), whose list of credits include a long tenure with Lenny Kravitz.
It’s all been building up to the international release of Crossing The Line. This is the sound of a world-class talent.
Video clip: https://youtu.be/oipg4RWUEAU
12/11 NOTTINGHAM – The Maze
14/11 HERTFORD – Corn exchange
15/11 GLOUCESTER – Guildhall
16/11 GUILDFORD – The Boileroom
18/11 LIVERPOOL – Eric’s live