[30 January 2012]
A North Carolina sextet that calls its brand of country and Americana simply Appalachian Rock, Big Daddy Love offers up Let It Grow, an album of stomping good time music that must go down like gangbusters in the live domain. On record, though, the material misses—albeit by inches. Some of that comes down to a mix that doesn’t always allow the clearest definition for the instruments—the otherwise fine instrumental “Air Bellows Gap” could use some more gaps twixt its stringed bandits—and other times in performances that are so well-executed they seem sterile, a direct contrast of the group’s free-flowing, fast-loving vibe.
The record could also be shaved down by about 15 or 20 minutes. The beer commercial country tune “Home Tree”, and the misguided Native American-influenced “Dream Walker” could easily be cast off, giving more prominent placement to the superior “Circle Around The Sun” and “Down From The Mountain”. On the whole this outfit is at its best when it’s playing up its Appalachian roots and playing down its Nashville ambitions.