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September 12, 2013

British blues invades Rockport

The founder of the British blues-rock band Savoy Brown will make his debut at the Shalin Liu Performance Center on Sept. 21 with the band’s latest incarnation.

The original band was founded by guitarist Kim Simmonds, and was influential in the British blues invasion of the 1960s. Simmonds has made music with more than five dozen members of Savoy Brown, including the subsequent founders of the rock group Foghat.

Simmonds, who recently turned 65, said retirement would give him the blues, and he is always ready for a performance.

“I’m not going to stop working,” said Simmonds, who founded the band in 1965 in London. “Doing this and getting on stage and playing is like an adrenalin shot for me. You get on stage and it’s like the doctor gave you a steroid shot. That alone is enough to keep you going.”

Simmonds said he is also driven by a continuing desire to not only play the old favorites from Savoy Brown’s catalog but to create new music. The current version of the band, in fact, is one of those — a trio for the first time in the group’s nearly 48-year history.

“I try not to make it one of those bombastic blues trios or a power trio, though,” he said. “I do a lot of acoustic stuff, and I try to make it as intellectual as I can.”

The band will play a special “bare essentials” unplugged show, tailored for the intimate setting of the Shalin Liu.

Simmonds says he has a year’s worth of acoustic guitar tracks for his latest studio endeavor.

“I’ve changed my guitar sound to accommodate the new record. I’m kind of excited about keeping it fresh. People come along to the shows and say, ‘You’re better than you used to be,’ which is a nice sort of backhanded compliment. I don’t think I’m any better or worse than I used to be in the ’60s, but I try to keep it fresh so people can come along and get something new out of it.”

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