All the best salesmen have no-bullshit eyes. Forget what you see in movies and on TV, the slippery salesfolk who dazzle with flash and a line. The best deal-closers still rely on a firm handshake and a look square in the eye.
The music of Raleigh, North Carolina, band Big Joe, as rolled out on their 10-song debut, is rooted in that same kind of straightforward, no-hidden-costs approach. There’s nothing fancy about their loud ‘n’ catchy guitar-led rock; the only frill in sight is the guest banjo of Eric “The One-Man Bluegrass Band” Royer, which duels with Joe Rechel’s roaring slide guitar on “Long Time Comin’”. Among the musical highlights are “Somehow”, which brings to mind the muscular twang-pop tunes Mike Harrison contributes to the V-Roys, and “Road To Nowhere”, the album’s simple but undeniably catchy centerpiece detailing Big Joe’s migration to Raleigh from Tucson, Arizona, by way of Nashville.
The lyrics penned by Eddie Taylor, the band’s hurricane-voiced vocalist, are equally direct. Only love seems capable of driving Taylor to metaphor, turning him into a daredevil on the shout-along number “Evel” and an affection junkie on the 6-minute epic “Strung Out”.
And not once do these guys push you to take the service contract.