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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Big Daddy Love

To the Mountain

Review by Gary Hill

Here we have a band that is quite diverse. If you only listen to one song, depending on which one you choose, you are likely to consider them to be a completely different type of act. Some of the music here is purely country. Other songs are blues rock. Still others fall more fully into the classic rock zone. The thing is, this all works together well, and it flows as album – remember those, where all the songs work together to the betterment of the total experience – not just some isolated downloaded track on your playlist. This is a great disc. It might not be your specific cup of tea, but there is no denying the talent here. Give Big Daddy Love the chance and I’ll be they’ll win you over.

 


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Hometown Radio (WCOK)

This is just a short little intro with bits of music interspersed by the sounds of a turning radio dial and then there’s a radio drop.

Peace Of Mind
Starting acapella, this is quite down home on the intro. It turns out to a more rocking, rather bluesy, country stomper. There’s some rather Allman Brothers like guitar work.
Good Morning Sunshine
There’s more rock in this, but it’s still well rooted in country traditions. The banjo soloing is an interesting touch. The guitar solo on this is especially tasty.
Spirit Is a Window
More of a soulful number, this is a lot less country. It’s got a 1970’s rock and roll element to it and this is a heartfelt and powerful number. There’s a lot of gospel in this and comparisons to The Band could be appropriate. We also get some piano that makes me think of Elton John a bit. A killer retro sounding organ solo should also be mentioned. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also make reference to the slide guitar solo. 
Heed the Call
A bluesy rocker, this is tasty. It’s really not got any country in the mix. Instead it’s all about the powerhouse blues rock sounds. It’s a great tune and a great piece of variety. 
River Runs
Here’s a mellow, balladic number. There’s country, but also a lot of rock in the mix. It’s pretty and evocative.
Unsung
This fires out with a definite fast paced, energized country arrangement. It works from there and alternates with a more rock based section. It’s another killer tune. There’s a soaring, expansive jam later that’s really got quite a bit of progressive rock built into it – along with some bluegrass. There’s some great Allman Brothers like guitar soloing. 
Mortality
A killer bluesy rocker, there’s really no country on this (at least in any big way). It’s a real powerhouse and one of the highlights of the set.
American Sycamore
With a ton of bluegrass and pure country built into this, it’s a killer adventure. It’s just as strong a track as “Mortality”, but with a completely different set of influences. This is another standout. It has some scorching instrumental work.                      
A Letter to Love (Story Song)
A ballad, I’d consider this to be equal parts soft rock, blues and country. It’s a nice change of pace and quite evocative. 
Mountain
There’s a very definite classic rock element to this. It’s got a lot of that 1970’s southern rock sound going for it. This is quite a strong piece of music and another one that really works well. I can hear a lot of the Allman Brothers on this. It drops back for a tasty little balladic interlude later. This is just plain classy. 
Space and Time
This is just a weird bit of instrumental ambience, with a lot of sound effects. This would be at home on a progressive rock disc.
Forever Rain
A mellow song, this is very much in the classic rock sort of territory. I’m not sure that something this laid back was the best choice to close the set. I’d say that moving “Mountain” to this position would have been a better move.
 
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