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Tossing Out My Preconceived Notions with Big Something - Tumbleweed

I used to think I understood what this whole jam scene thing was, and I was so sure it was not my thing. In my younger days, I refused to listen to bands like Phish and moe. because I was so very sure the music was something I wouldn't relate to. I had all these preconceived notions of what the crowds were like at festivals, what the bands were like when you met them, and what the scene was as a whole. I was so wrong, it's kind of painful.

I mention a lot that my husband is a big reason for my open mind in music. I have always had a very eclectic taste. I love everything from classical to hip hop. I found myself as a teen in punk and industrial. I found my home in ska/reggae. I have always carried a love for folk. Never did I realize that all these sounds can be found in the least likely scene, at least in my mind at that time. Over the last five years, my husband (a nasty jam bassist in his own right) has been slyly pulling me into the scene one band at a time. Never has my mind been so open. I have seen incredible musicians, met wonderful people, and feel honestly fulfilled by what I find a little more every day. I give credit where credit is due.

I happened to stumble on Big Something recently. They came up as a suggestion on Spotify and never having heard of them, my curiosity got me. With a name like Big Something, I came equipped with my big expectations. They do not at all disappoint. I pulled up their 2017 album Tumbleweed and was taken VERY MUCH by surprise. These guys are an incredible medley of sounds, inspirations, and insights. I get bored easily and I guess that is why I thought I would never find myself in the jam scene (stupid assumption, I now know). I thought 20 minute songs to get lost in was all it was. Never did I expect to find such inventive vocals and body moving grooves in one package. You will not be bored with this record. You will not be bored with this band. Every song is an exploration. Every time the track changed on my first listen, I was a little more excited with what I might hear. The songs are so different. They are another story with each beginning.

This album has so many sounds, I am having trouble figuring out where to start in describing it for a reader. I honestly have never had this problem. Do me a favor and go pull up this record so you can play along at home.
Got it? Ready? Here we go. Pull up the song Passenger. This one has a really fun bluegrass/country undertone but incredible vocals and keys over top. You think you know what you are listening to for a quick second, and then your mind is a little more blown. Skip on over to Song for Us. There is a trippy key sound with a reggae groove underneath layered with an almost New Wave-ish flavor sprinkled in for good measure. You hear that? There truly is something for everyone here. Again, those vocals. It's exciting for me to find something so versatile and creative. Big Something takes a piece from a dozen puzzle boxes to make their own picture and it works. It creates an artful balance of changes and grooves. Its so crazy and so so so good.

For being one band and one record, there are so many sounds running together. The guitar is rocking and edgy with intense soaring solos, the drums are tight and expertly placed just hard enough in some places and just enough beat in other places to keep the flow. Meanwhile there is that steady, body moving bass groove throughout. The keys are outstanding and lend to that electric dance feel that moves you. There are elements of trumpet and sax on the record as well and if you follow this blog, you know my ears perk up immediately for that. It's so well balanced with nothing more prominent than anything else. Every sound is equally as important. I love that.

The vocals are varied in their intensity and impressive in their versatility. I am reminded of Brandon Boyd and I hope that doesn't offend this gentleman because that is honestly one of my all time favorite vocalists across the scenes. I can't pigeon hole this dude though because his sound is way more than that. There are elements of 90's rock, reggae, and 80's pop smoothness mixed in there as well.The word inventive is probably getting overused in this piece, but it's honestly what rings out in my mind with every song I listen to. This is such a cool record.

Essential Listening:

Blue Dream: It's a really sweet mix of electronic skill and outstanding guitar. It's a move your body while your mind drifts to a different place kind of song. It highlights one corner of what Big Something can do, and its a cool corner.

Tumbleweed: I always assume a title track is going to have to be something special because it has this strange representation of the whole album, so I go in expecting big and I was not let down. Elements of jam groove, but with an edge.

The Flood: I'm married to a bass player. I love a good bass line, and this song has it. The song as a whole is incredible and moving. I really want to see this live. It's jam with edge.

I popped on over to their website to learn a little more. These gents are presently doing a spring tour with Umphreys McGee and have some great festivals coming up. I took a look at their tour page and was immediately bummed because they are not playing anywhere near me at all. (New Jersey!) I will be watching for when they are. Big Something is now essential viewing on my list of must see bands. Put them on yours too. 


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