I was in Mississippi visiting my grandparents for the summer when I first heard them. I had snuck out of my room to catch Saturday Night Live and the musical guest that evening was…you guessed it…Big Country. It was their American television debut and I was completely blown away. Their sound was unlike anything I’d ever heard and, almost instantly, they became my favourite band of all time. I bought every album and, even now, listen to at least one Big Country song just about every day. I count it among one of my good fortunes in this life that I was able to watch them “grow up” as a band right before my eyes and ears and, needless to say, I was quite taken aback the day I learned of lead singer Stuart Adamson’s death. Distinctly I remember my friend Josh, a huge BC fan as well, and I commiserating, reminiscing about our favourite songs just trying to make sense of what, to us at least, was a senseless tragedy.
Fast forward to 2011. I am scanning for Facebook fodder one Friday afternoon when I happen upon a curious post from Treading Lemmings frontman Quinn. Big Country is back together? What? How could this be? Soap opera scenes of characters who had been killed off in early episodes returning after a case of mistaken identity flooded my consciousness. Is Stuart back with us and, more importantly, has he seen and/or spoken to Elvis? Inquiring minds want to know. Alas, ’tis not the case. I am somewhat perplexed to find The Alarm’s original front man, Mike Peters, has joined the band for it’s 30th Anniversary tour. Oh…and I suppose they are going to change their name to the Big Alarm now too. That’s just great!
Having not yet even heard this new incarnation of my most beloved band, I wanted to hate them. However, try as I might…I just couldn’t. I scoured YouTube for live footage of performances and was once again blown away by what I heard. Maybe not so much as before but a respectable amount of “blown awayness” for sure. Bassist Tony Butler still sounds amazing as do the other members of the band. Peters, thankfully, is not trying to be Stuart or evening like him. He’s just being himself…and it works.
“Another Country”, the track featured above, is the band’s first new single in over (12) years. It was produced by none other than Steve Lillywhite who worked with the band on their first two albums. European concert dates in the early part of 2011 gave way to additional dates in the Spring. Hopefully, they’ll be making their way across the Big Pond as I would do just about anything to be able to see these cats live.
Take a listen to the “flash forward” above and be sure to check out the band’s 2011 live performances on YouTube.