Upon meeting Keaton Simons, it becomes clear why the blues/rock guitarist, singer and songwriter from Los Angeles is now creating some of the best music of his career. Keaton's warm and relaxed demeanor is something you'd expect from a guy who's nestled himself by the beach, but it's his fearlessness and excitable energy that reveal an artist who in many ways has done it all, and in others has only just begun. At this stage in Keaton's seasoned career, with the many hats he's worn laid out in front of him, it's truly all about uninhibited music.
Keaton Simons has enjoyed international recognition for his role in the singer-songwriter/pop world while on major labels Maverick and CBS Records. The Los Angeles Times described the voice of their native son as having a "lived-in quality that will echo in our minds and hearts for years to come." In 2008 Keaton released his first full-length album, Can You Hear Me, co-produced with David Bianco (Tom Petty, Bob Dylan) and in 2013 followed with Beautiful Pain, co-produced with Mikal Blue (Colbie Caillat, Jason Mraz). No Depression said of his sophomore release, "If the dictionary had a listing under perfect pop, it's very likely that Keaton Simons would have his photo displayed there prominently... Keaton purveys intellect, intuition and a brilliant twist of the phrase that turns everyday expressions into lyrics that are thoughtful and worthy of consideration."
Anyone who's seen Keaton Simons perform live knows why the crowd erupts when he picks up a guitar from his arsenal on stage (usually consisting of a customized DeTemple Stellacasta, fretless guitar, baritone and acoustic). Premier Guitar magazine has welcomed Keaton as a guest guitar teacher on their website and says, "Simons can play. Imagine John Mayer without all the pretentiousness." In addition to being the face of Advanced Guitar for Ubisoft's Rocksmith video game, Keaton shines on guitar and vocals at pop-up jam sessions with legendary musicians, such as drummer Robin DiMaggio (Paul Simon, David Bowie), bassist Alex Al (Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder), and percussionist Lenny Castro (Boz Scaggs, Fleetwood Mac) among others.
Keaton has even had success in the hip hop world as a writer, musical director, singer, bassist and guitarist with notable acts like Snoop Dogg, Gnarls Barkley, Tre Hardson of The Pharcyde and underground hip hop legend Medusa. He's also performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Last Call with Carson Daly and most recently, The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Keaton's music is regularly placed in feature films and television shows, including Sons of Anarchy, Private Practice, NCIS, Malcolm in the Middle and Numb3rs.
The fist thing people notice about Rob Drabkin is his 70s style Afro and ubiquitous grin. Before he even has the chance to pick up a guitar, his humble, kind-hearted nature draws us in. But it's his music, which blends elements of rock, singer/songwriter folk and improvisational jam, that has sent this Denver, CO native and his band (featuring Brian McRae on drums, Bijoux Barbosa on bass, Eric Moon on keys and Dave Preston on electric guitar) on a handful of national tours, supporting artists like The Wood Brothers, G. Love and Special Sauce, Trevor Hall and Big Head Todd and The Monsters. From just one encounter with him, it all comes together as why Rob Drabkin is, in a word, lovable.
Recently, Rob Drabkin released his third album, Little Steps, following his popular 2012 live album. Live at The Bluebird Theater 1.19.12, where he and his band cover Paul Simon's Graceland in its entirety. Little Steps Highlights Rob's creative strides over the years and his openness to stylistic excursions. Songs like the soaring opener "For you I would Die," showcase his powerful vocals and syncopated guitar drive, while the title track takes the listener from zero to 60 on the first downbeat as lively horn section heralds the sophiscated, feel-good rock anthem. "Don't Worry About Me" is one of Rob's most moving ballads, and features a string arrangement written by bassist Bijoux Barbosa, and performed by members of the Colorado Symphony. Little Steps, produced by J.P. Manza (Mumford & Sons, Big Head Todd & The Monsters) and Rob Drabkin, peaked at #3 on the Relix/Jambands.com Radio Chart.
In June 2014, Rob will release the official music video for "Don't Worry About Me." Written and directed by Dillon Novak. It's a nautical tale of a man who finds a washed up bottle with fragmented song lyrics inside. He quickly discovers that the source of the bottle is not a person, but the ocean itself. The video was shot at False Klamath Cove in Klamath, CA. "Dillon stumbled on this location while camping in the Redwood Forests;" says Rob. "It's overcast and foggy 90% of the time, and the rocks and driftwood add such dark, mysterious elements to the scenery. The waves are absolutely stunning! I can't imagine a better location for "Don't Worry About Me." The string players featured in the video are members of the Curry Del Norte Orchestra, or "Symphony by the Sea," from Crescent City, CA.
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