Design By Humans
Published On: Thu, Jan 14th, 2016

Idiot Grins: Big Man

idiot grinsIdiot Grins
Big Man
(Snug Harbor Records)

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A nice, groovy Michael Melgoza drumming and Michael Conner organ lay under Johnnie Bamont and Mic Gillette horns on “How to Get to (Baltimore),” the opener to Idiot Grins’ new album, Big Man, while the title track is a piano-led ballad showcasing John Hansen’s expressive voice. “Snuggy Doo” is informed by Randy Strauss’s flicking electric guitar rhythm and a low roiling bass from Evan Eustis, with a solid, commercial, singable chorus. “One Reason” is a fine 50’s, send-up blues, featuring Eustis, Strauss and Conner so subtly. Those horns are back as well; Bamont and Gillette, though not full-time Idiots, certainly are used on most songs here). “Paso Robles” has the first real country feel of the tunes here. Certainly the pedal steel and picked-up beat gives us a whole different color to what has gone before. There are great harmonies here, reminiscent of Eagles or Poco. “Ovaltang” continues that upbeat snap, another great, fun tune with a slide sound and horns bleat, quick vocal with pretty much a Grateful Dead-like pluck. “Sour Man” ends the album. It’s a true homage to The Band with harmony vocals, slightly stuttering beats and a lead organ part Garth Hudson could have played. Availing themselves of Memphis’ Ardent Studios to master this album, Idiot Grins got to use the same equipment as employed on those great Stax recordings of the past, albums this band was so obviously influenced by. That magic and the obvious talents of these men makes this album a true winner.

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Idiot Grins: Big Man