Making it big in the music industry is never easy, but some make it harder than it needs to be. I mean, when you pull your name from the grocery store you are already behind. (you can overcome, Bleach and Skillet come to mind).
Then there are expectations. That's not usually a problem for new bands. It can be if there is an excessive amount of Label Hype, but expectations are usually only a hurdle for established acts. They are also a hurdle reunion acts have to handle. Fans will reach for the album they remember most when they hear that a band is reforming. The first album you release in the reunion period is not the best time to reinvent yourself.
This brings me to the subject of my post. Big Tent Revival is a name that conjures music akin to Jimmy Swaggart than to Audio Adrenaline. The analogy may not be perfect, but I avoided BTR for a while on name alone, never hearing them. Then I got Amplifier . So did a lot of people.
Amplifier was the album that launched a billion bracelets, and that's probably a significant under count. For those of you not old enough to know, in 1998 or so WWJD was all the rage among the youth group crew, and stood for "What Would Jesus Do". It was a hit single encouraging all of us to think how Jesus would have responded to their situation. Considering the election just past, I think it should have been asked more.
Back to BTR. Amplifier was full of Synth filled alternative keepers. Still Breathing, Lovely Mausoleum, Someday (time and space), and Star in the book of life joined What Would Jesus Do? as must sing songs. Just when the band caught magic in a bottle, poof.
Which brings me to those expectations. When I heard that BTR was reuniting and had an album in the works I was psyched. Then The Way Back Home came out on October 30 and to quote from Switchfoot, there was a beautiful letdown.
The Way Back Home is exactly what you would expect from a band with the name Big Tent Revival, and that is a shame. It is country through and through. While I was pleasantly surprised by Mac Powell's "country" release because it didn't stray far from Third Day, there is nothing like amplifier here. I had expectations and they were not met. Lost Boy is the only rock song on the album. Though the characters are the same, the music bears none of the magic. In that light, I can only give The Way Back Home 3.5 Emeralds. It wasn't gag inducing, as some country is to me, but there was nothing to get me going. I prefer to remember BTR this way. This is What Would Jesus Do?
I expect to be a lot more upbeat with my next few reviews, as I have Third Day and Disciple in the mix. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.