Stephen Simmons hails from Woodbury, a small town in central Tennessee that’s known for Sunday socials, tent revivals and palm readings. After ten years in Nashville, Simmons is, in many ways, still that Church of Christ kid––humble, good-natured, but more than a little dark––as a songwriter and a road dog, his revelations are as exhilarating as a Tilt-a-Whirl. On his new record, The Big Show, Simmons combines his trademark insight and dark imagery with the wry humor and irony of a gifted songwriter who’s been around the block and seen more than his share of the true human psyche.
When asked about this body of work, Simmons said that this record was about more than just the life of an entertainer on the road. “Ninety percent of the time I feel more of a kinship with a truck driver than Dylan or Springsteen. People mainly see us in that brief window when were on stage and the lights are up, but most of the time were changing clothes in a gas station bathroom, killing time in a hotel or just driving. To me, the idea of a BIG SHOW is much more than that. It’s also an analogy of our lives here on this World.”
Joining Stephen Simmons on The Big Show is his longtime producer and ringmaster Eric Fritsch (Sheryl Crow, Scott Miller), who also plays guitar and Hammond organ on some tracks. Simmons and Fritsch matched a renowned crew of musicians with songs best suited to each individual’s playing style. Other tracks feature Simmons alone, accompanied only by a beat-up Guild acoustic guitar and a harmonica.
The Big Show is Simmons’s sixth record. His previous works (Last Call, Drink Ring Jesus, Something In Between, The Blame’s On U.S. and Girls) have found him compared to the likes of Johnny Cash, Ryan Adams, John Prine and Tom Petty. The Big Show also owes a debt to that songwriting pantheon, but also includes influences as diverse as Van Morrison, Tom Waits and the acclaimed HBO series Carnivàle. Above all, The Big Show is an event––a showcase for a seasoned singer-songwriter who’s got stories, insights and melodies that are unique yet available to all. Step right up.