Big Smith in Review, May 2, 2009, Indianapolis

Big Smith, the southwest Missouri based roots band, played Earth House on Saturday night, May 2.  This was the band’s Indianapolis debut.  The crowd was small but the band played like it didn’t matter.  And they were gracious about it—Big Smith normally draws big crowds all over  the midwest and plains

What I love about Big Smith is their committment to place and a deep sense of history–without being overwhelmed bit it.  They take a deep heritage and add to it.

I especially love their gospel music.  I wish more faith communites understood that you don’t have to rely on cheezy praise music.   Big Smith definitely embraces their gospel  beginnings but challenge the contemporary church and its deep shortcomings.   Jody Bileu  had a funny take on the i-70 trip across Illinois as they drove over from Missouri and econuntered the the “world’s biggest cross in Effingham.” Jody wrote and performed last night my favorite Big Smith gospel tune The Rich Man’s Poor ( There was a man/ He was so religious/He never found the time For loving Jesus/ You should have seen/ How he treated the least of these–/On the gospel road/That’s what he is.

The good news is that Big Smith also writes some good murder ballards, have a reportoire of old time labor songs, and a have a broad sense of humor.   Their kid’s album rocks also.

The turnout was too small on Saturday night, but  maybe its just the start of something much bigger for roots fans here in the circle city.


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