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Pierce Pettis – Great Big World
I met Pierce Pettis recently. I was playing a gig with Paddy Keenan at a venue here in Georgia called Eddie's Attic and Pierce was playing the late show after ours. After our show we had to leave without hearing him play and now that I have heard his new CD out on Compass Records I am really sorry we had to go. Pierce hails from Alabama and has been playing music for many years and has a host of highly praised albums as milestones along the way.
This latest release is called Great Big World and is already the most played CD in my house in months. Every track is beautifully crafted with simple inspired arrangements giving each an identity of it's own. I hate to compare artists with others and especially Pierce as he has a unique ability to sound totally new on every song but if you admire anyone from Guy Clark to Tom Waits to Elvis Costello then you have shades of all of them here.
Another Day in Limbo opens the album and sets the tone for the whole affair with some beautiful production and playing from the likes of Alison Brown and Garry West. In fact the host of great musicians on the album is a tribute to the respect Pierce holds in the music world. Danny Thompson is on board on bass, Stuart Duncan from the Nashville Bluegrass Band plays fiddles and mandolins beautifully as he always does. The plaintive sounds of Alabama 1959 show off that lonesome fiddle sound and show off Pierces storytelling talents so well you can almost taste those hot summer nights in the South. Then there is the lush and inspired string arrangement, courtesy of the talented and lovely Andrea Zonn, on The Black Sheep Boy, another melancholic classic. Andrea also lends her vocal talents to many of the tracks on here.
This album passes a great test. As each song ends I like it so much I want to play it again but within a couple of bars of the next, I am hooked once again and so I let the CD play on. So from Crackerjack Ring right through to the finale, Song of Songs, an anthemic love song that any songwriter worth their salt should wish they had written, the album brings gem after gem and sends you straight to the replay button when it is all done.
The album is produced by Garry West and many producers out there should take a lesson from his gentle touch at the helm.
Great Big World is out now on Compass Records.
For more on Pierce and his live dates click HERE