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  Saad Ave
Artist: Bigtone
Label: Grassroots Music
Time: 7 tracks/33:23

This EP is a solid effort for those who like intelligent, well-crafted roots rock along the lines of the Wallflowers, Counting Crows, This Train, or Vigilantes of Love. At times, lead singer/guitarist Tony Mullins' voice is reminiscent of Adam Duritz, and at others, Jakob Dylan--which is to say, he has the perfect voice to match the musical style. Ashley Hall's backing vocals are very much in the territory of a cross of Julie Miller and Beki Hemingway.

The rhythm section of Josh Slone (drums) and Adrian Elswick (bass) are solid and provide a good foundation for the melodies and lyrics to stretch out upon. The central metaphor--taken from the name of the street, Saad Avenue, after which the album is named-- is that this world is a "sad avenue we live on." And yet amidst the sadness and the heartache of it all "I know God's in it, through the good and the bad" ("Beautiful"). It's this understanding of the highs and the lows making up the spectrum of life that informs this album--and it's the knack of crafting hummable melodies and using familiar chord structures to invent new things which sets this album on its own footing in the world of roots rock. Bigtone does indeed have a big tone, and it works well. Here's hoping for many more efforts to come from this Kentucky-based band!

Alex Klages 4/5/2004


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