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Title:  Smile  
Artist:  Big Face Grace
Label:  True Tunes Records
Time:  12 tracks, 46:14 min


The funk is back with the debut label release of Riverside, CA’s own Big Face Grace.   Smile will be the band’s third full-length album release but their first with a label.  The five piece band includes drummer Roy Ice, guitarist Michael Knecht, lead vocalist and guitarist Timothy Gillespie, bassist and BGV Sam Leonor, and guitarist/bassist Jason Hutchinson.  They have only recently been signed to True Tunes Records, a division of Rhythm House records and already have left their mark on the mainstream media.

MTV recently used “The Way” and “Floored” on their very popular show “Road Rules.”  ABC’s “Making the Band” also featured two Big Face Grace songs, “Halo”  and “It’s Not Enough.”  The band sees this exposure as evidence of Divine direction in their lives.  “We weren’t calling MTV, we weren’t calling ABC,” said drummer Roy Ice.  “It seems like every time we just relax and we’ve gone through times of fasting and praying -- real soul searching prayer -- it’s during those times that we’ve seen these great jumps.”

And not without good reason.  Smile is a fun collection of ten original songs and two club re-mixes including the title track and “The Way.”  Their retro sound is quickly becoming recognized by old and new fans alike.  The album will only encourage that recognition.  When it came time to record this album, the band brought nearly 45 songs to the studio.  “Our main goal was to find the right songs that fit together sonically,” said Knecht.  Ice continued,  “We realized that our sound was kind of fun, a little funky and positive.  So we went back through all of the songs and weeded out all of the ones that went against that image.”

The album opens with the energy charged “TeleVision,” which features a vibe reminiscent of the disco sound of the 60's.  The intensity doesn’t diminish much after the opener.  Lyrically tight, musically large, the album captures the buoyant energy of the live show.  “Nothing Can” is good example of this energy.  It reminds listeners that nothing can separate us from Christ.  

“Floored” is a soulful ballad with elements of Canada’s Hokus Pick, and speaks of a desire to be rescued by God.  “One Left Waiting” is a personal favorite of Ice and of Knecht.  The song is usually a show closer because of its message.  “It is a clear statement of loyalty to God,” said Ice.  “‘If there’s one left waiting, it will be me!’  It’s a great recommitment time.”

Kerry Maffeo 6/27/00



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