Taking a listen

by Heather MacIntyre

Big Daddy Love — Circle Around the Sun

My favorite track, entitled “Sinner’s Anthem,” is a quirky yet honest and pining song with a lot of attitude. “And now thirteen women wanna be my wife, but fifteen others done threat’n my life. But ‘ol Jim Bean’s still got my back…” Gotta love some good Southern folk rock mixed with bluegrass — one of my favorite hybrids of the North Carolina foothills. This album isn’t for background music; it’s for playing and listening to. Don’t miss out on their smart and witty lyrics. Derek Reece, Dan Smith, Dustin Transou, Ben Kallam and Steve Nalley really put it all into this album full of guitar picking, devil fighting and party praising. Anyone can appreciate the messages of the album track by track; there isn’t really a dull song that you press “skip” to get through once you’ve heard them all. The production of the album isn’t as rough and messy as most do-it-yourself records these days — and they didn’t have a label to distribute it all for them. These guys get mucho kudos for their layering of guitars (acoustic and electric), bass, mandolin, harmonicas and banjos that bring out the perfect sound for anyone’s ears. While they’ll be playing all over the Carolinas this summer, the closest set will take place at the Garage ( with Old Stone Revue ( in Winston-Salem on Friday, Sept. 5. Buy the album online at:

Rating: 3.5 records (out of 5) |

Dawn Chorus — Florida Street Serenade

Wow. So at first I was rather hesitant about even checking this album out, as one of my YES! Weekly co-workers is in the band. What if I didn’t like it? Could I possibly write a bad review? I mean I’ve enjoyed the group for the last four of their six years, but a junior album has to go downhill, right? No worries. I can breathe easy — this is honestly one of my favorite releases of the summer, definitely in my top three. The record released at the end of July on Fractured Discs is a fresh crossbreed and modern twist on everything we all miss from indie rock over a decade ago. But this isn’t just garage band strumming with talky, whining vocals into a microphone while kids pretend they’re listening and look cool scribbling on their .fm list. This album is full of nothing but good summer tunes with familiar life messages: feeling positivity from settling; if nothing is wrong, everything is okay. Andrew Dudek’s vocals are timeless and take a pleasant trip from your ears to your brain as the end of summer creeps up and your eyes scatter the streets in search for the first sign of falling leaves. Don’t stop here. You can download their previous two albums for free ( Their next local show is at Square One (corner of Glenwood Ave and Grover St. in Greensboro), on Friday, Sept. 12.

Rating: 4.5 records (out of 5)

For a chance to have your band’s CD reviewed, mail it to: YES! Weekly, 5500 Adams Farm Lane, Suite 204, Greensboro, NC 27407. ATTN: Heather MacIntyre