Simon McBride is quickly rising on the blues rock scene. The 33-year-old Irish guitarist will release his third studio album, Crossing The Line, on September 25. The album comes out just five months after the release of his live album, Nine Lives. We caught up with Simon to get the scoop on the new record.
Crossing The Line is seeing a unified release in the US and Europe. How important is this?
Although some of my previous albums have been available in the US this will be the first time that we are really pushing for recognition and sales in the US. I’m really keen to hear the reaction from the US press.
You’re touring the UK in November, will we see a US tour as well?
Yeah, I’m looking forward to my tour in the UK. I think there will be a US tour next year (2013) which will be good fun as I love playing the US and it’s also very important to me because it will be the first time I will be touring my own material. Every other time in the US I have been playing with someone else. I like the American audiences, they are always very appreciative.
You produced Crossing The Line. Are you interested in producing for other artists in addition to your own work?
I have been doing production back home in Ireland for various people for some while. It keeps me busy and exposes me to different music and new ways of doing things.
Crossing The Line features a cover of “Go Down Gamblin” from Blood, Sweat & Tears. How did you decide to include that song on the album?
Every album I always go hunting for possible songs I could cover and do justice. My manager had been talking about Blood, Sweat & Tears and years ago I used play a couple of their songs in another band. Go Down Gamblin is a very cool song with all the different parts in it, so I wanted to take it and see what I could achieve purely on guitar and without the brass parts. I am very pleased with the way it tuned out.
On Crossing The Line you revisit “Down To The Wire,” which appeared on Since Then and Nine Lives. What made you want to record that song again?
There were two reasons why I wanted to revisit that song, firstly I was never quite satisfied with that song, call me the perfectionist but it never came across on record the way I heard it in my head, but finally I have a version which I’m happy with. The other reason was simply that while I was recording the rest of the album in Paul Smith’s studio he said he is big a fan of that song so why not record it while I was there.
What was the songwriting process like for Crossing The Line and was your approach any different than your previous albums?
This album I approached as a songwriter rather a guitar player, I wanted to concentrate on the song content rather than the guitar playing. My last few albums it was more about the guitar than the songs or vocals. When it came to laying guitars down then it was easier for me to come up with solos etc using this approach, so I have learnt something new.
Which track off the new album is your favorite, and which are you looking forward to performing the most?
I don’t really have a favorite song, as I have heard them so many times! I would have to say I’m most proud of “No Room To Breathe” as it is the most personal to me. And also I really like the solo I played. So I guess I’m looking forward to performing that one.
Interview by Pete Francis