Simon Widdowson has been making music and performing in Europe and America for the last 30 years, recording and releasing 10 albums and also working as a producer and recording engineer for dozens of artists. After performing several dates in the UK in 2015 he retreated to his studio in a remote location in the mountains in France to record a new album. Free from the constraints of making music geared around solo acoustic live performances and breaking the mould of a performing singer/songwriter, the new album "Retractable Roots" represents the sum of simon's influences and experiences; a life spent either on stage or in the studio and performing and recording all the instruments himself, it reflects his skills as a multi-instrumentalist, producer and recording engineer. The album artwork was produced during the recording by French artist Nanouska Pietronave www.mandalanouska.com "Soaking up americana, blues and folk that showcases many skills! A superb songwriter, great musician and vocalist - this comes HEAVILY reccommended! At times it reminds me of American Music Club or even Mark Lanegan...CHECK!" Matthew Bradshaw, Jumbo Records Leeds, November 2016 "The broodingly atmospheric opener evokes comparison with the likes of I Am Kloot, perhaps even The Durutti Column, and the remaining journey – often instrumental – is one of the most cinematic experiences your ears will hear in a very long time. This is one truly gorgeous album. Luckily, Mr Widdowson himself was at hand to give us the lowdown on his multi-faceted existence and not inconsiderable genius behind both guitar and production booth… Loz Etheridge, God is in the TV, November 2016
"Retractable Roots is a seamless progression of cultural reference points: a souvenir of Simon’s unrelenting restlessness that has transported him across continents. Cultural references are interwoven with open guitar lines and an atmospheric texture of field recordings transplants the listener into a crowded train terminal, or into desolate Alpine climes.Widdowson’s new material stands apart from his previous albums, yet preserves many of the subtle inflections that characterise his work. Whether live or on record, it is a pleasure to be taken down the road of this man’s musical journey."Orlando Whitehead, Savage, Novermber 2016 Read the full article here: http://www.savageonline.co.uk/our-london/the-truth-is-good-enough/
After growing up in Leeds, Simon boarded a plane with an acoustic guitar and a suitcase full of records and in 1986 landed in Minneapolis Minnesota, sitting in with bands in bars on the West Bank, the Cabooze and Whiskey Junction and playing guitar in a blues band called Killing Floor, going on to front a power pop trio called Rainjackets and performing regularly at clubs around Minneapolis for several years. Feeling suitably prepared for the road, 8 years later in 1994 relocated to Santa Fe New Mexico and embarked on a period of touring across the USA, playing over 250 shows a year for several years. Playing acoustic guitar and harmonica in dusty saloons, college bars, theatres and festivals and driving almost every day across the desert, the Great Plains and the mountains, his english pop roots merged with America's folk and blues. Shared the stage with numerous artists such as; John Martyn, Peter Case, Dave Mason, Tom Paxton, Leo Kottke, Spin Doctors, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, RL Burnside, Clive Gregson, Deacon Blue, Crashtest Dummies, Subdudes and Peter Himmelman.
"British transplant Simon Widdowson is a prolific, socially conscious songwriter who wears his heart on his sleeve and whose nimble phrasing recalls both Graham Parker and Van Morrison" Jim Walsh, Billboard Magazine
After 7 years in Santa Fe, moved to Portland Oregon in the late 90's, built a Recording Studio and Artist Space called Are You Listening? and went on to record and produce many artists such as Decemberists, Pete Krebs, Little Sue, Charmparticles, Hindi Guns, Papillon, and borrowing some of their musicians to make 2 more of his own albums and occasionally perform live while gathering experience and developing a reputation as a producer, recording engineer and studio musician.
"Simon Widdowson's Are You Listening? Studio, the soundlab responsible for some of the shiniest gems in Portland's recent pop past" - Zach Dundas, Portland Willamette Week 2003 After 18 years in America, moved to Cork Ireland and played bass in a local rock band called The Outside and keyboards in a folk pop group called Box Camera, playing occasional solo gigs and continuing work as a producer and recording engineer for several notable Irish bands such as Driven and Arm the Elderly. After 3 years in Ireland moved to France and spent 4 years in Lyon performing regularly with various musicians and working as a recording engineer and producer for several French artists such as Novox, Karimouche and Zen Zila. Moved briefly back to Leeds in 2011, performed solo gigs around the North of England before signing a deal with French Record Label Fakir Music and going back to France to record the ep "Simon Widdowson & Bellecour".
"Widdowson is a superior songwriter whose intelligent social and political commentary is never preachy because it's usually grounded in a personal context. Musically his adept mingling of rock and roll, folk elements and catchy pop hooks result in tunes remarkable for their depth and scope" Rick Mason, Minneapolis Star tribune
"Widdowson isn't just playing up to the journeyman artist stereotype, behind the casual melodies smart arrangements and typical British gift for irony there's a palpable restlessness to this guy and his songs" Dave Kirby, Colorado Daily b/w Photo: Isabelle Jaquemonde