Kim Simmonds is a guitar player’s guitar player. Long underrated and always left off the list of British legends like Clapton, Townshend, and Richards, the Savoy Brown frontman has spent the better part of four decades putting out solid LPs and touring relentlessly. Savoy has always been more popular stateside than in their native London, and the constant overhaul in the band’s lineup probably gave the impression of an instability in their boogie blues sound. If you believe Simmonds however, the revolving door in his rhythm section kept the records fresh and created a culture of accountability within the band — hold your own, or move on.

I had high expectations for Savoy’s recent performance in San Juan Capistrano. My father initiated me as a kid, frequently spinning their early 70s classics, “Looking In” and “Street Corner Talkin’.” And while you never know what you’re going to get from a live performance with a group entering (or already in) the twilight of their career, Simmonds proved that he still has it. They played classics like “Street Corner Talkin’,” “Poor Girl,” and “Wang Dang Doodle,” and dipped into some new material, which was played with feeling. The set was rounded out by a transcendent cover of the standard “Little Red Rooster,” with the audience engaging in an energetic call and response with the band.

Kim Simmonds plays The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano


He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister’s recent set at the LA Public Library was a short but lively ramble into American roots music. Part of an ongoing series at the Mark Taper Forum, the concert was one segment of an evening that included a panel with comedian Patton Oswald, singer and writer John Wesley Harding, and photographer Catherine Opie.

Playing in an outdoor courtyard, the performance suffered a bit from from the chilly temperature and acoustics, but the energy and musicianship were enough to keep the audience listening until the finale. An interesting outfit with a lineup that includes a tap dancer, pedal steel guitar, and upright bass, He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister’s music might best be described as one part alt-country, one part Sushine pop. The Bakersfield country sound meets the Mamas and the Papas, more or less. With an upcoming residency at LA’s Spaceland, I’ll be sure to check them out again for more insight into their unique cross section of Americana.