There are two ways you can listen to Under The Big Oak Tree’s sophomore record “Local Honey.” There is a lion’s share of sweet melodies you can sway to and plenty of hooks to sing along with but there is also a wealth of lyrical depth and references to dig into if that is how you like to listen.
This record is clearly more accessible than their debut, the songs flow in a linear way and if you don’t dig your claws in it is easy for them to pass you by. Tracks like “Stars Songs Faces (after Sandburg)” and “Thread So Thin” work as lullabies and will sooth you into getting lost in the melody. In contrast “Tracks of the Train (for Walcott)” is a moment of urgency escaping the overall relaxed mood of the record. A faster pace and longing lyrics give it a distinct profile among these 11 songs. If you are a listener that likes to closely examine songs there is much fodder for you here too. You may have noticed some songs have appendixes with different poets attached to them (Larkin, Keats, Sandburg, Pound and Walcott to be precise.) These references are well thought out and specific to each song and writer’s poems, sometimes directly borrowing lines before expanding on them. This knowledge isn’t necessary for the listener but serves as a nice easter egg.
Great musicianship, songwriting and carefully picked guests make this a clean, shining bluegrass album. If you’re a casual listener or over-analyzer of music, chances are you’ll find what you are looking for here.
Key Tracks: “Tracks of the Train (for Walcott)” “Don’t I Know (for Pound)” “Local Honey”