Fans and music press worldwide alike are buzzing about the sophomore CD by North Carolina Americana quintet Big Daddy Love titled 'To The Mountain'. Proclaimed inventors of a new genre of music coined Appalachian Rock, Big Daddy Love's new CD is about to set the music world on fire! "As an Americana band from the mountains of North Carolina, Big Daddy Love has certain elements to their music that define the genre," says Alice Wynn of Augusta, Georgia's Metro Spirit, "but, at the same time, a sound that defies categorizing." “People say they have a tough time describing it, which I think is a huge compliment,” explains banjoist Brian Swenk. "It's the tightness of bluegrass with the soul of the Allman Brothers." "Take out that second electric guitar and put a banjo in there," adds guitarist Dan Smith. "What if Led Zeppelin had been raised in the Appalachian Mountains? These are the things I was thinking of when I coined the genre 'Appalachian Rock'.
Big Daddy Love was formed in early 2006 after years of friendship and informal jam sessions between founding members Daniel Smith, Dustin Transou, and Derek Reece. The trio spent a year learning how to perform together before adding Banjoist Ben Kallam and Drummer Steve Nalley. These five individuals, who in April 2008 released their debut CD ‘Circle Around The Sun’, forged the foundation of the sound associated with BDL. In 2009, one by one, the members started moving on to pursue other interests except Smith who, with the well wishes of the others decided to continue on what they had started. Ashley Sutton auditioned live on bass and was a natural fit with Smith's style. Electric guitarist Joey Reechio and banjoist Brian Swenk came on board at nearly the same time and provided just the drive needed to keep going. Ironically, both Reechio and Swenk are from the same hometown as Smith, a very small farming town in the mountains, Sparta NC. Towards the very end of 2009 drummer Kelly Linville arrived on the BDL scene and the line up was complete! Combining authentic song craft with undeniable musicianship, the quintet delivers high-energy performances comprised of their own brand of good-time music.
The members of Big Daddy Love, who have played “thousands” of shows in various other projects, have covered the gamut of styles from beach to blues to jazz to traditional bluegrass and, together, these influences merge together to form their indefinable sound, which Swenk said is best described as bluegrass combined with Southern-style rock along the lines of the Allman Brothers and Drive-By Truckers. Other artists that influence BDL are Led Zeppelin, The Stanley Bros, Bill Monroe, Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Allman Bros, Grateful Dead, Gov't Mule, and John Hartford to name a few. “We’re playing so from the heart, that it’s one of those things that we really are creating this as we go,” Brian told Alice Wynn of the Metro Spirit. “The blues bands and the bluegrass bands that we came from, we were just re-creating a genre, re-creating our influences. With this, we’re taking everything we’ve learned and being as creative as possible and feeling our way through it.”
Big Daddy Love's 'To The Mountain' was recorded at the great Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville NC (where artists like the Avett Bros, Chatham Co Line and Band of Horses have recorded) Aaron Price produced the album and was a huge part in the outcome of the album. The CD was mixed by Josh Seawell and mastered by Ray Kennedy in Nashville, TN. Special guests include Aaron Price, Brent Buckner, David McCracken, Lauren Caudle, Mark Schimick, Nikki Talley, Richard Welsh, Tara Nevins (Donna the Buffalo).
When asked if there is there something Big Daddy Love is trying to express to the public with their music, Brian Swenk responded, "Just that we're proud to be from North Carolina and the South, and we're proud of our families and the people around us - and we LOVE the mountains! It PISSES US OFF that people are tearing them down (mountain top removal). I think the concept is to take a different approach of instruments and the widest possible variety of influences and mix them with the roots of WNC and foothills and see what that spits out."
Here's what the music press is saying about Big Daddy Love:
"...blends bluegrass and roots rock into an upbeat groove."
Michael Flynn - Asheville Citizen-Times
“...unique and personal sound while maintaining traditional acoustic Carolina groundings.”
Aimee Shea - Performer Magazine (Southeast)
“...15 solid, if not spectacular tracks...certainly good enough to make the skip button a distant memory.”
Ryan Snyder - YES!Weekly
"...boogie-ready beats, memorable melodies and solid stringband interplay between members..."
David Brewer - High Country Press
"..wickedly good five-piece bluegrass and Americana band Big Daddy Love..."
Jeff Eason - The Mountain Times
Big Daddy Love’s music has had a profound effect on their fan base in their home state, who have formed the Love Bus, a charitable organization that comes together in the name of the band, holding food drives and giving away free CDs with blood donations. “We really see us being active with that in the future, putting a lot of effort into charities and really promoting the Love Bus thing of helping people out,” Swenk said. “That’s kind of neat for us.”
In support of BDL's new CD release the band is setting off on an extensive US tour - tour dates can be accessed from the band's website: www.bigdaddylove.net/BIG_