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Big Smith

Big Smith – 1999 (Self-released)

Reviewed by Eric Zehnbauer

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CDs by Big Smith

As comfortable as the overalls they're named for, Big Smith proves that you don't have to come from Appalachia to produce great bluegrass. They also prove there's better country music in the Ozarks than Branson; they hearken from nearby Springfield, but they're oceans apart musically. This acoustic quintet couldn't be further from the pounding drums and flashpots of "hot new country" either.

Replete with traditional, old-time country instrumentation, including dulcimer, autoharp, fiddle, mandolin, washboard, the songs also feature multi-layered harmonies from all band members. Original tunes such as "Go Away Maggie" and "Barrel Springs" are gems, but Big Smith also perform some stalwart covers. The classic "Long Black Veil" and "Pretty Polly" are here, as well as a great version of Neil Young's "Dance, Dance, Dance." If you love acoustic old-time country and bluegrass, this is a must-have release which captures the spirit of the music of the Ozarks.