The Sound: Rock(abilly)-n-Roll with oodles of honest-to-goodness heart and soul.
In the Cafeteria, They Sit With: Brady Rymer, Rocknoceros, Trout Fishing in America, Dean Jones
Best Moments: “There is No Away”, featuring the harmonizing Elizabeth Mitchel, is a non-preachy, insightful eco-message song that belongs high on the list of the loveliest of such musical greenness. The Bear and Mouse both adore “Sneaky Snake” (in fact, a construction paper snake and a bottle of Stewart’s were integral parts of the Bear’s birthday party decorations this past weekend) and when your ready to “break away from the chains / and leave the strip mall behind” and head to a store that’s “off the beaten path on a little road / underneath a homemade sign” you’ll have “Stop at a Mom and Pop” as your an anthem for supporting local small business. I love the variety of folks that rattle off local business names at the end, giving a real hometown voice to the song’s “help the community grow” lyric.
A pair of Josh Ritter-esque (I realize the style can be dated back much further, started with The Boss, but I love Ritter, so that’s who I’m referencing here. ‘kay?) tunes nestled into the gut of the disc are my favorites. “The Night the Lights Went Out” rolls along like a gentle stream, telling the story of an evening sans electricity and “You Look Good in the Rain”, which rocks a little harder, features a singalong chorus that’ll take way more than a bright sunny day to shake loose from your head.
Bonus Thoughts: “Shake It Off!”, one of the Bear’s favorite tracks from “The Big Picture”, is a refreshed & re-recorded tune originally included on the out of print Uncle Rock disc “Here We Go!”
Bonus Bonus Thoughts: In the mid-90’s, Robert Burke Warren aka Uncle Rock performed on London’s West End as the title character in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. His affection for Holly continues here, with “Buddy Holly’s Got The Hiccups”. (A quick aside: How awesome of a kid’s musician would Buddy Holly have been?)
Watch Uncle Rock performing the tune live:
Okay, Time to Wrap it Up with a Nice Little Bow: With songs about lonely spacemen, bumble bees, shaking off injuries, the environment, Buddy Holly’s hiccup-induced singing style, Bigfoot and root beer chuggin’ reptiles, “The Big Picture” is a near flawless kid’s album. Through “The Big Picture”, his 4th non-holiday kid’s album, Uncle Rock delivers an upstate New York musical aesthetic and warm community vibe made famous decades ago by Dylan, The Band and others. If you’ve never owned an Uncle Rock album before, now is the time to rectify that situation. Buy “The Big Picture” now in physical form, directly from Uncle Rock, or as an mp3 download by clicking below.
*Uncle Rock’s “The Big Picture” was provided to OWTK for review. The opinions expressed above are unbiased and true – no arm twisting took place in the review process.