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Big Smith

Big Rock – 2001 (MISSING)

Reviewed by John Lupton

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CDs by Big Smith

This is the second release from independent country rockers Big Smith, a Springfield, Missouri-based band combining elements of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys and '60's-vintage Allman Brothers, with a little bit of the Austin Lounge Lizards thrown in, although the 14 mostly original songs are not so much comical as they are good-naturedly quirky.

Not many bands, for example, would take on the challenge of singing a moving ode to as familiar, yet also under appreciated a household object as a "12 Inch 3-Speed Oscillating Fan." They demonstrate a more serious side as well on the opening "Backwater," a frank and, some might say, controversial look at the less appealing side of country life, and the closer, an old Ozark hymn, "Sweet Rivers," done nicely a cappella.

More than a decade ago, the Kentucky HeadHunters made the big time in mainstream country music as a rock/bluegrass hybrid band, and the temptation for many will be to compare the two acts, but that's a misleading comparison. Big Smith seems to lean more toward the acoustic side, their vocals and instrumentals are deeper and more nuanced, and their material is truly original. (Big Smith, Box 940, Nixa, MO 65714, E-Mail: cousins@bigsmithband.com)