FAME Review: Big Daddy Love - Let It Grow
Big Daddy Love - Let It Grow

Let It Grow

Big Daddy Love

Available from Big Daddy Love's online store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

An interesting blend of folk grass, prog-grass, country, rock, and hillbilly plaint, Big Daddy Love's Let It Grow reminds strongly of the 60s and 70s when psychedelia and experimentation were entering the roots music genre quite handily, much thanks to the Dead, Barefoot Jerry, Kaleidoscope, and various ahead-of-their-time look-back-fondly groove merchants. The instrumental key is the up-front guitar work of Joey Recchio and banjo playing of Brian Swenk, a pair strikingly contrasted while perfectly indexed. Atop the two rides Daniel Smith and his kinda rough, kinda tart, kinda shoutin' vocals and arrestingly hip lyrics.

Down from the Mountain and Sweet Water, cuts 2 and 3, really show what's what in that department. The former's a bitingly rendered Appalachian cut about a guy who descends from the fastnesses of the hoots 'n hollers to find him a bride only to be shown that he's a backwater fish out of its element in the modern world. So he turns to religion to assuage his loneliness "…but Jesus don't need a man without a pony nor a wife". You can't help but grin at this poor guy who's getting his butt kicked by the culture at large, even though you sympathize with him, because the narrative and Smith's delivery are so damn clever. It is a VERY cool little story with an interesting denouement.

SweetWater" rocks and swings like crazy as Chasper Horton bounces in the drums with a hipshake and bootscoot while Ashley Sutton nails down the bottom end on bass, boogying up the bannister as Rechhio delivers a burning solo. Then you catch 'em all again in the uptempo Circle Around the Sun, Nicky Sanders gliding in with a hoppin' fiddle, and, at 6:56, there's plenty of time for a mess of solos and steppin' out. Then the ominous Dream Walker clocks in at 9:01, a song about the tragic plight of Amerindians as Euros stole and claimed their land, renaming it America. The cut reverses the CD's atmosphere until Rechhio comes tearing in halfway through, introducing fire and thunder. Big Daddy Love, y'see, always cuts an eye to what most of us miss, and Daniel Smith is one hell of a composer, writer, and singer. That's what those shivers climbing up your spine as the cut closes down are telling you.

Track List:

  • Let It Grow (Daniel Smith)
  • Down from the Mountain (Daniel Smith)
  • Sweet Water (Daniel Smith)
  • Love Light (Daniel Smith)
  • Air Bellows Gap (Swenk / Recchio)
  • Southern Hospitality (Daniel Smith)
  • Thicker than Water (Daniel Smith)
  • Home Tree (Daniel Smith)
  • Circle Around the Sun (Daniel Smith)
  • Mid-Summer's Dream (Brian Swenk)
  • Dream Walker (Daniel Smith)
  • Only a Moment (Daniel Smith)
  • Mid-Summer's Dream (reprise) (Brian Swenk)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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