Singer songwriter Sim Ross blends roots rock Americana with a sharp hint of youthful punk nihilism at the frayed edges. His musical landscape, born of working class roots in Cleveland Ohio, is littered with late nights, empty bottles, night owls and cravings that are better left unsatisfied.
Having played in bands since the age of 16, Sim Ross released his first solo album, Ohio City Songs in 2015. A couple years later he moved to Texas to work with Will Sargent at Sargent Sounds, just outside of Austin. The album he recorded is Mother’s Day Blues, which coincidentally benefitted from some parental guidance. Released in August 2017, it’s an unwitting concept album. Ross wrote the songs first, and later strung them together with the help of his Dad, giving chronology and structure to his dark yet wistful stories of disillusion and longing.
In a nod to an era when album track sequence was an art form, Mother’s Day Blues is a 14-part confessional. The song order creates a narrative. Ross warns us in the first song, “At the Rate I’m Goin’” that the apple fell far away from the tree, and it’s pretty damn clear we’re on a road trip to points unknown. Songs like “Sweetness” and “Avalanche” showcase Ross’s musical influences: a bit of Tom Petty’s timeless, guitar-driven defiance, the balls-out rock swagger of the Black Crowes, lyrics reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen’s tattered American dream.
There are plenty of good times along the way too. “Paradise” is a raucous ode to a whiskey-soaked night out, and the people you meet before the harsh sun rises. “Getting Out”, the final song of Mother’s Day Blues, is an escape from New York. But it’s also a stealthy glance in the rearview mirror, to make sure nothing valuable has been left behind.