(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Woodstock soul-rock singer-songwriter Simi Stone brings her signature brand of “Mountain Motown” music and her all-star band to Helsinki Hudson on Friday, July 1, at 9pm. Stone’s bands includes musicians who have played with Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Gang of Four, B-52s, and Vernon Reid.
Simi Stone plays violin, guitar and percussion and boasts a huge, versatile voice. She reminds me of Diana Ross, although last time I saw her I closed my eyes and realized that who she really recalls is Jackson Five-era Michael Jackson, in the best possible way. She’s a virtuoso multi-instrumentalist, in demand as a rock violinist, and her violin gives her self-described “Mountain Motown” sound her unique imprint. But she can also sling on a guitar and make that sing, or play various percussion instruments. Or, frankly, she can just shimmy across the stage unburdened by any instrument with the hot legs and sexy allure of Tina Turner. That works, too.
All that, and then there are the songs – upbeat pop tunes, soul ballads, rockers, all infused with catchy hooks and rhythms that make you wanna move. Love songs, confessional tunes, odes to the healing power of music, all of which could easily be radio hits if there still were such a thing as earnest radio hits. And she conveys them all with an infectious confidence and power and super-engaging stage presence that are contagious – she just spreads her joy and happiness to everyone in the room, and everyone falls in love with Simi, and maybe with everyone else that night.
Reviewing her December 2013 show at Helsinki Hudson, I wrote, “If there is any justice in the world, her upcoming album will propel Stone into national consciousness as a major new force on the pop-soul scene…. What the world needs now – right now, and not a moment too late – is Simi Stone, in all of her multitalented, glorious appeal.”
Simi Stone names Aretha Franklin, Sly Stone, old school Madonna, Donna Summer, and Whitney Houston as influences, and it’s hardly out of the question that someday Simi Stone will be mentioned among them as a peer.