All About Jazz features “Burning The Bigtop Down” to their Summer 2021 Spotlights

The backstory of an album is oftentimes more interesting that the record itself, but that’s definitely not the case with Burning The Bigtop Down. Mike Younger was in the studio collaborating with the late legends Levon Helm and Jim Dickinson back in 2001 when his label went defunct, but he refused to become so dismayed he gave up on the tapes, so, finding them in 2017, he went about assembling musicians to complete nine tracks of earnest, authentic r&b-inflected rock. As “Together” first suggests, Younger’s sand-papery voice reminds of the Eagles‘ Don Henley, but this LP has more to offer than either superficial comparisons or merely a litany of guests; sit-ins do abound though, from both Dickinson offspring to Memphis stalwarts Spooner Oldham on keyboards and David Hood on bass. And the aforementioned drummer from The Band is at a kit through all these Younger originals including the genuinely soulful “Laying Low.” In line with its circuitous route to release, Burning The Bigtop Down is worth searching out: it’s more than simply a musical curio.

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