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taking a listen

by Ryan Snyder

reviews of local & state music CDs

BIG DADDY LOVE To The Mountain

Despite the departure of one of it’s primary songwriters, Foothills country rockers Big Daddy Love has retained the same warmth and rootsy authenticity that make Circle Around the Sun such an enjoyable listen. Their latest release To The Mountain isn’t quite the boot-stomping, knee-slapping affair of their last go-round; the songs are distinctly more intimate and occasionally affecting this time, though the rockers are still plentiful. Openers “Peace of Mind” and “Good Morning Sunshine” harken to their core sound of layered banjo and stirring electric guitar. The uplifting “Spirit is a Window” finds the band focusing on soulful and Beatles-y piano melodies, though the mournful pace on the quietly nostalgic “River Runs” lends a little more melancholy than its content portends. Donna the Buffalo’s Tara Nevins shows up to offer a dose of extra scrub bing power on “Unsung,” a song that finds Big Daddy Love at their best lyrically. The line “I write the song you never heard/ I paint a picture with my words” lends color to singer/guitarist Daniel Smith’s ode to his passion for making music, a concept often explored but noble nonetheless. If there’s anything to fault with the album, it’s that it doesn’t veer far enough off course from Circle Around the Sun to truly set itself apart as its own vital entity. There’s still plenty to like about To The Mountain and with heavy influences from John Prine, Donna the Buffalo and Chatham County Line, there’s something for every country and roots fan to be found within.

72/100

Big Daddy Love plays their album release party at the Aquarius Music Hall this Friday. The Deluge will open. Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the door.

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