Big John’s

Yep Roc

Jennyanykind, brothers Michael and Mark Holland with Cliff Brown and Ted Boyer, are back in indie-land after one record on Elektra. The Chapel Hill foursome achieves a nifty trick on “Big John’s,” sounding like Big Pink-era Band, but in a completely modern, lo-fi way. Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Michael pins songs that are more amble than sprint, because that’s the way it’s done down here in the southland. His vocals, closer to Dylan/Lou Reed talk than singing, mesh well with the loopy, atmospheric slide guitar and the fullness of a Fender Rhodes, all recorded in a manner that sounds like four guys sitting in a room with a couple of mikes. It’s a glowing, warm sound, an honest sound. At times, particularly on “Prayer in the Shitter,” the music sounds like an unreleased track from Bob Dylan – Live 1966, but never slavishly, more a starting point than final result. “5th Ave. Blues” features dreamy, Ry Cooderish-slide topped by sharp, biting lyrics, which are delivered in a southern boy in the sun kinda rap. It works, like everything else on this record. Big John’s is a cool album because it never tries to oversell, or blind you with flash. Instead, it makes you feel like you’re in a bar, sharing a few beers with a buddy, who answers you with song instead of sentence. I like that. Yep Proc Records, P.O. Box 4821, Chapel Hill, NC 27514-4821

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