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New Big Wreck is in the wings.... my first impressions. There is sooo much Zep on these tracks it's almost a tribute album. Y'all gonna love it.

Ok, folks… get ready. Mastering is done. And I have had the privilege of hearing them. This is not your father's Big Wreck… although it is!

It sooo much more deep and wide than anything that they've done before. There's catchy as hell melodies and choruses that will NEVER leave you. There are pieces of demos that you all know and love, stepping into the spotlight and having their moment to shine. There are warm lush classic tones and hard as steel grinds that give you the shakes. There are songs that distill the essence of the greats and take them to new places. There's even a Foos Springsteen song that opens a whole new door. And there's a cover! A cover sooo sublime and tasty that you would think a guest superstar was called in. There's emotional pleading, frustration explained, deep questions and realizations. There are breakneck turns, furious runs, slide guitars, steel guitars, acoustic guitars and electric guitars twinned, tripled and quadrupled! There are guitar sounds that you've never heard both in your face and floating in the atmosphere. There are pianos, keyboards, bongos, tabla, and sticks and drones, and drums and drums and drums! And "Ohhh that baseline!"… over and over again you'll find yourself saying! There's amazing lyrics to ponder and pine over. There's the familiar path and the totally unexpected turn. New directions and vibes touched on in Albatross are mined extensively from the mother load of creativity that is Big Wreck. There's power upon power upon power and afterglow to still the beating heart. There are echos of progressive greats, and rock royalty. There are never-ending solos that lounge luxuriously forever and tightly spun triplets sprinkled throughout. There's confident muscle and delicate beauty everywhere. There are gorgeously structured pop chops on display alongside waveform level deconstructed power chords. All rendered in an ultimate beauty of an album who's production values are magnificent! Vocal harmonies loosed upon power pop sections that'll make you feel like you are in another era. Layer upon crystal clear layer wrap your mind and take you on an aural journey that's more like a body high. There are multiple levels from which to encounter every revolution taken. There isn't a band around that can deliver an experience with the genre jumping breadth of this CD without sacrificing the heart and soul of the band. NO-ONE will be able to touch this stuff live. This is the Big Wreck full potential FINALLY being realized.

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Just a teaser. The art is very reminiscent of Zep's 02 DVD... eh?


It's with the bands blessing that I post this to fill in the blanks for the faithful over the next few days... tip of the iceberg peeps, trust me.


Over a stripped down structure, killer baseline, a throwback disco beat, Floyd's picking pattern insert a big Thornley/Sumner chorus and you've got Ghosts. It's nearest rhythmic relative is Floyd's "Young Lust". Most of The Wall was in reaction/answer to the Disco revolution that was happening at the time; the driving beat that gripped pop music in the late 70's. It was completely anathema to rockers, but Floyd made it not only palatable, but kind of stamped the rock over the top of the whole scene. It is with this "ghost" that Big Wreck choses to dance. Ian's, respect for, and recognition of, Sting and the Police's echo of the same Floydian "ghosts", permeates the melody.

The subtlety throughout the track, from the delicate picking pattern that swells behind the verses, to the tight funk slide that kicks it off, shows a willingness to explore other flavors. Live, a little Floyd was sprinkled into the intro to Big Wreck's Ladylike over the years and now it's fair game for it's own tune.

Ian sings of longing for home, being bound by ghosts. As a musician carves out his own ground, among the influences that shape him, what does he call his own? Especially when they're drawn from ones that still reverberate today. It is a familiar Big Wreck theme, like Defined, from TPAG. It's a musical journey, but a personal one too. How do we escape the Ghosts of our DNA, or familial patterns we've inherited? Dust and light. Flesh and Spirit. Always a depth in the lyric that we expect from Ian.

As I said before, this is some different territory for Big Wreck. Not different process-wise, because it mines 70's prog for inspiration, like many BW classics have, but different because Big Wreck has never so boldly taken on disco/funk. Even if it comes though a Pink Floyd filter. And WOW what results! The spare sections of Beat and Bass set up Ian's sexy Roy Buchanan toned solos. The authenticity with which Chuck Keeping and Dave McMillan groove through this track belie their rock roots. You'd think they was funked out forever!

The huge chorus is forever burned in my mind, like it will be in yours. Melody rules on this album! The lines change in the last chorus as Ian is wont to do. And if my scars were tattoos, I could hide them in plain view… well he's doing it. The ride out is pure funk jam. Clean tone, sinewy lines, loose jam like Control and You Caught My Eye from Albatross with some tasty interplay.

Scars or influence; they're in plain view, and I for one, hope his Ghosts never let him go.

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Here's my impressions of Hey Mama....

Since I've had the opportunity to hear these tracks in the making, it gives me pleasure to be able to share my written impressions with y'all (with Big Wreck's blessings - of course). I can't wait 'til we can ALL share our thoughts on this and all the others. I'll have MUCH more coming.... never been this excited!

Yep, it's the one we all know, but on an incomparably different plane....

Hey Mama
I used to love this track called Hangman's Jury by Aerosmith. It starts out on a backwoods porch just harmonica and an old slide acoustic and progresses through a modern treatment, building instruments, vocals and power as it grows; acknowledging it's Rn'R roots while infusing it with raw power. Well, Hey Mama started out as a straight up Zep tribute back when it was a solo demo by Ian, leaked in '02. While the original demo had tons of heart (a fan favorite) it only hinted at what would become of this track.

THIS is the game changer IMHO. Many times a demo is infused with an immediacy that gives it life and then it gets mushed in rendering it to final. Full production robs it of it's original vibrancy and power. Well not so with this Mama! The rootsy guitar pattern, the droning background chords, the tasty mandolin echo the same Appalachian mountain music that inspired Zep originally. Ian rasps "Hey Mama, hear me holler! Hey Mama, watch me pray! I buried you out in the backyard, I hung you high in a tree, yeah that was ME". This is some creepy backwoods drama about to throw down. Shadowing the vocal lines the guit/mando/drone heaps layer upon layer until a MASSIVE stuttering drum beat kicks it to life.

So full, so powerful…. background vocals or effects laden guitar patterns fill in behind the lines "An empty house on a hillside, An empty boat on the sea" and it's bouncy, familiar and otherworldly all at once. Like when Jimmy Page played that boogie pattern in the beginning of Celebration Day on Zep III. It was just sooo from-another-planet yet firmly based in the delta blues. Mama continues this Celebration tradition in the BEST possible way. You can't help but dance along while the song goes on about betrayal and loss. Chuck's furious drumming and absolutely bouncy baseline (Dave McMillan channeling JPJ) gives this track a life not heard from Big Wreck since The Oaf. As a matter of fact, I think it out does The Oaf in it's pure Zep spirit!

As it hits it's stride "She forgot about forever, and I'm stuck in yesterday" what's that?… Beatle-esque Octopuss's Garden "la, la, las" or guitar lines? Whatever it is, it adds soo much body and mood! You cannot help but get up and just ROCK!

As Ian screams "HEAR ME HOLLAR!" the band does one of those Pagian throwaway breakdowns just to loosen your spine. At full bore now this track hums along until a clipped "I'm STUCK in YESTERDAY!" spews and the first hair-stand-on-end moment comes.

Big Wreck have uncovered the most amazing lost Zep riff of all time. It's a down turning, elevating BEAST of a riff! You will head-bang and rock to this reflexively. And it's delivered with all the majesty, mystery and MASS that it deserves. All you want to do is hear it MORE… LOUDER…. and then…. tease…. the band drops into this sweet little slide eddie… just because they can…. light and dark… tight but loose…. nice warm summer vocals and mandolins…. the baseline to walk us out…. but, what happened to that riff? Where's that confounded riff?… Ian's was "stuck with yesterday" but now he launches into a mega "I'M STUCK WITH TODAY!" over the top of… THAT MASSIVE RIFF!

This riff is such a behemoth. It's the culmination of years of distilling Zep's essence, of playing the Immigrant Song in shows, of exorcizing that Pagian possession that Ian sang of in Overemphasizing and Defined by what We Steal. It has the majestic power of Kashmir, but DRIVES like the Immigrant Song.

The power thrown by the whole band into this ending is indeed worthy. The riff stomps, grinds, moans and groans over furious badass bass and Bonham-righteous drum flourishes while Plant-like guitar wails on the high end. The final chord rings on in afterglow with feedback and vocal like the last heaves of Godzilla. THIS is what Big Wreck is all about. THIS is what every Zep tribute from Heart's Barracuda to Rival Sons Pressure and Time ascribes to be. THIS is the 2 million hit youtube song. THIS is what my best bud (1st generation Zep-fan) said "If they had survived, THIS is what Zeppelin would be playin'!" You can't ask for a better endorsement. 'Nuff Said.

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So you don't have to click a link.....

I Digress

It's not often you hear the phrase "I digress" in rock music. But that's why we dig Ian's writing so much. As he has many times before, maybe this time better than ever, he takes that Zep shadow and light approach to high conclusion. The song kicks off with a modern rock riff pinched like "Rest of the World" only tighter. Dueling with the crunch is a stabby pattern that made me think of Nuno Bettencourt from Extreme. Everything is like chiseled points of sound calling and responding as Ian sings of an internal battle that has been raging for a long time. We've got dueling guitars doing call and response with the bass while the drumming rolls over the top repeatedly.

Is it imagination or jealousy?

My intuition failing me?

I'm gonna throw up from so much pride!

As he elongates his "priiiide" he lays those long deep bent sweeping Pagian notes… lots of tension is building… As if all this thinking is driving him mad!

Now the song transitions into "classic" rock mode for a bar with some Who-ish chords and a standard 4-4 beat (is that cowbell?) but just for a taste to set up the bouncy Brit-Pop chorus..

He's never gonna know what we've been through

He'll never open you

As I digress, I need tenderness

As I digress

And I MEAN bounce! Davey's bass playing propels this section as Ian's Beach Boy best croons over the top! It sooo catchy and warm you just want it to stay… it feels like LOVE!

But don't get comfortable… you're about to DIGRESS!

Don't let 'em iiinnnnn!

Now we've got the mania firing in all directions… this episode more frantic than the last….

Another walk through that dumb classic rock riffage as Ian lays it out…

Another idiot smiles and comments on your eyes

Whoever he is, he don't know yoouuuuu

And we're in love again… all chiming guitars and "oooohh-ooooo"s. It's such a schizophrenic song.

Back into the mayhem which has been turned up to a blistering pace. Davey is VERY Entwistle here Chuck Keeping doing fierce crescendos while POUNDING the beat! Out of this whirlwind stomps that Who inspired power chord that reminds me of Ram Jam's "Old Black Betty". This section thumps up to the cliff and launches into this beautiful blue ocean sized vocal "YOUUUU!"

In midair it's caught by the pop section and lands softly in love… but wait… does mania win? In Big Wreck's world evidently it does. Love is the digression.

As the hard beat lays the foundation, the cry of "DON"T LET EM IN!" wails out! Then they start the slow burn. Deliberate riffing plays under a long tortured solo that slithers up out of the mix. It undulates around and in between the riffing. Other guitars come up to support while still more make counterpoint. The layers build as the solo become more furious. The whole thing builds like a speed metal sprint while Ian plays triplets higher and higher, adding voice after voice. It seems like there must be 10 guitars cascading! Definitely born out of the extended Come Again road version with guitars locking in! THIS is a guitar wanking at it's BEST!

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BIG NEWS!!!! Well, the pre-sale for Ghosts in Canada will begin tomorrow, the 29th. What you don't know is that Hey Mama will also go on sale to purchase immediately on the 29th! Be SURE you get it… even if it's just to prove that I wasn't exaggerating! It's MAGNIFICENT!

Yeah THIS ONE!!!!!

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