Ask singer/songwriter Keaton Simons what he takes from his new EP, 123 Go and his answer is as authentic as the six songs on the record. “I took a step back and poured all my focus into the music and the moment.”
Simons has often played with other artists throughout his career. Just until last year he was in the enviable position of playing guitar for none other than Chris Cornell. “I played in bands with numerous other artists growing up, including Snoop Dogg, Skimkid3 from The Pharcyde, Gnarles Barkley, and most recently, Chris Cornell. I’m blessed to have worked with such amazing people, learn from them and make some incredible music, but it was kinda time to get back in the studio and work on my next release.”
His rejuvenated love of making his own music is evident from the opening notes of the spirited title track, “123 Go.” A jubilant roots rocker that picks up both steam and jangle as the song progresses, it is an absolutely infectious groove that defies you not to tap your feet, clap your hands and shake blissfully at top speed as you listen to it.
Equally impressive, though on the opposite side of the musical spectrum, is the moody and gorgeous “The Sound Of Impatience.” The six-song collection bounds back and forth effortlessly between the two tempos, from the feel-good “Crazy in Love” to the beautiful and moving track, “Yet.”
The EP’s lead track is the rootsy “Crane City,” a song directly inspired by Simons recording in Nashville.
“The first song we released is called ‘Crane City’. That’s my nickname for all the cities in the world dominated by cranes and all the gentrification that’s happening everywhere,” he says. “It became a song title on the drive from the airport into Nashville.”
While there were many factors that contributed to this being the right time for Simons to return the focus to making his own music, the opportunity to record in Nashville for the first time with producer, Marshall Altman was right at the top of that list.
“The idea to make a new record with Altman came up and it just felt right,” he says. “All the pieces fit together perfectly. I spent all of September in Nashville hanging with friends, being in the scene and the vibe there, and working with Marshall. He and I have been friends for a long time and have always wanted to do something together and we were stoked to have had this opportunity.”
Simons embraced every aspect of Nashville, including playing with the musicians Altman normally engages. “Making this record in Nashville was incredible. A destination record has been a life-long fantasy of mine.”
“I don’t believe in perfection. Since perfection doesn’t exist, you have to replace it with acceptance. That’s something Chris and I had in common. Neither of us liked to over-rehearse. We wanted to preserve the raw spontaneity. That’s where some of the best stuff happens.”
Simons had a lot to draw on in writing and recording 123 Go. It all came together seamlessly to make a record that is one hundred percent Keaton Simons.
“That’s what this EP is, this is a real culmination,” he says. “It’s where I am right now.”