Fast becoming the next Irish blues guitar hero in the footsteps of Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore, Belfast-born guitarist Simon McBride has gained a pile of accolades.
On hearing his latest album, American magazine ‘Performer’ was prompted to say “The Holy Trinity of Belfast rock ‘ roll – Van Morrison, Rory Gallagher & Gary Moore – might just be on the verge of becoming a four-leaf clover.” And earlier this year, McBride was invited by Don Airey (Deep Purple, Gary Moore, Colloseum II), to play guitar on his latest album including a special medley of songs in tribute to the late Gary Moore.
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. At 16, he turned pro, leaving education behind to wow the world as a hired gun in projects that ranged from filling Vivian Campbell’s shoes in 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. He has supported such great names as Joe Satriani, Jeff Beck and and Joe Bonamassa. Now it’s his turn. Step-forward a new world-class talent.
Support comes from Federal Charm. Their unabashed style draws on 60s and 70s era Blues of the likes of Free, Freddie King, or as Blues and Soul Magazine puts it, “think Led Zeppelin meets the Black Crows and you’d be in the right ballpark”. Their self titled, debut album has been drawing rave reviews from critics and fans alike, and the onstage partnership of guitarist/singer Nick Bowden and guitarist Paul Bowe is truly electrifying live.