There’s no easing into “Nashville Flood,” the lead track of Big Daddy Love‘s new album, This Time Around. In fact, that driving rocker — complete with The Turkuaz Horns — posses a kind of polished grit and music business savvy that seems a major departure from past Big Daddy Love offerings. But this is a different band. Founding member and frontman Daniel Justin Smith departed a couple of years back, replaced by singer and songwriter Scott Moss. As HomeGrownMusic.net put it, “Sometimes change is a good thing because whether you realize it or not, with the current lineup, there is not one original member left in Big Daddy Love.” But WNC listeners will remember banjo player Brian Swenk and guitarist Matteo Recchio.
Swenk’s mountain roots are felt in the electric bluegrass of “The Colour” and “Smoke Under the Water.” The former was penned by Recchio; the latte, a propulsive prog piece, was written by Swenk. Recchio also wrote “Home No More,” a reggae spin on the theme of family farms being lost to the bank.
This Time Around spans a number of styles, executing each with precision. But the album hits its stride with roots rocker “Kerosene.” That song pairs John Cougar grit, Marshall Tucker Band Southern soul (thanks to Marco Benevento on organ) and the melodic touch of banjo. There’s a pretty searing guitar solo, too, which either embellishes the track or takes it over the top depending the listener’s taste, but the creshendo opens into lush horn hits and a choir of backup singers.
The title track is also the album’s final offering, a thoughtful tapestry of guitar textures and close-to-the-mic vocals. Moss is an able songwriter with a cozy delivery that’s every bit as powerful when he sings softly as when he belts.