I grew up in Northern England in the shadows of the mills and the Pennines but the music I listened to came from America and so after turning 21 and boarding a plane with a guitar and a suitcase jammed full of records I landed in Minneapolis in the late 80's and hung out in bars on the West Bank like the Cabooze and Whiskey Junction and played guitar in a Blues Band called Killing Floor before the drummer went to jail.
The Midwest was Bob Dylan country and home to the beginnings of Alt Country and Americana with groups like Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo, Gear Daddies and Jayhawks. In Minneapolis there was the Uptown Bar and First Avenue and The Replacements, Husker Du, Soul Asylum and Trip Shakespeare and it was a blessed musical education.
I fronted a power pop trio called The Rainjackets and another group called Spearfish and performed regulalry at the 400 Bar, Fine Line and 7th Street Entry and after seven frozen winters I set sail for the desert of Santa Fe New Mexico in an old Volvo, playing acoustic guitar and harmonica in dusty old saloons and college towns across the Midwest and Southwest.
I lived in between Indian Reservations and Colorado Folk Festivals and from the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville to the Fox Theatre in Boulder I strummed my guitar and sang 6 nights a week for about 5 years and drove over 250,000 miles across the desert, the great plains and the mountains and played concerts with John Martyn, Peter Case, Dave Mason, Tom Paxton, Leo Kottke, Spin Doctors, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, RL Burnside, Clive Gregson, Deacon Blue, Dharma Bums, Peter Himmelman and many more.
In the late 90’s I discovered the Great Northwest while on tour playing a gig at the Colorbox in Seattle and and I felt it was time for another change so I settled in Portland Oregon which at that time was a mostly blue collar, not quite yet hipster town full of Rose Gardens and strip clubs and was the home of Elliot Smith, Dandy Warhols and many more english influenced pop rock outfits.
I built a recording studio and recorded many great artists such as Decemberists, Pete Krebs, Little Sue, Man of the Year, Charmparticles, Papillon and was also able to borrow their musicians to make my own albums and play a few gigs. I also lived for a time on a remote island in British Columbia and took up surfing.
After 18 years in America I went to Ireland and wandered the windswept cliffs of West Cork and Kerry and stumbled into pubs in Dingle Bay and spent many an evening mesmerised by centuries old traditional music sessions. I lived in Cork and played bass in a band called The Outside and also played a few solo acoustic concerts myself and continued to work as a producer and recording engineer for other artists such as The Driven and Arm the Elderly.
After almost 3 years in Ireland I moved to France in search of the sun and found it in the streets of Lyon, the mountains of the Alps and the vineyards of the South and so lay my hat there for a while, working as a producer and performing regularly with various musicians. I formed a band called Smash Heroes, played some acoustic gigs with a bass player and saxaphone player and performed briefly as the keyboard player in Zen Zila.
2011 saw a long overdue return to Leeds for about a year and I played solo acoustic gigs 3 or 4 nights a week around the North of England before returning once more to France, signing a deal with French label Fakir Music and recording the ep "Simon Widdowson & Bellecour" and then the band broke up. I took a break, moved to secluded place in the mountains and in 2014 released a solo acoustic album entitled “Looking for the Sun”, put together an acoustic trio with harmonica player Koko Harp and Thomas Boulanger on double bass, recorded an ep with them called "A Little Bit Blue".
SIMON WIDDOWSON VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE https://www.youtube.com/user/simonwiddowson/videos
iTunes - https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/simon-widdowson/id18750316
Spotify - http://open.spotify.com/artist/1T7zRlO9C4j1r47IXk5itB
Facebook - www.facebook.com/simonwiddowsonmusic
I don't do Twitter
"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
"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
"A brooding, romance damaged pop album that can summon either Nine Inch Nails or Leonard Cohen as needed. On disc Widdowson is a bruised yet refined presence, a guy who's been around but still has the energy to put his words across with muscle" Zach Dundas, Portland Willamette Week
Simon also regularly records and produces music for other artists and for films: www.theaudioarts.com