The Big Bend
The Big Bend has always been a work in progress: The band’s first albums had a definite country accent. Then, in 2015, the five-piece produced Unconventional Dog, a certified rocker. That full-length got the band attention from local radio, from Triple-A station WYEP to commercial rock entities WDVE and WXDX. The follow-up, Celebrate, gave the band plenty of reasons to pop a few bottles. In between, the band hits overdriven blues rockers and twangy honky-tonk tunes. Chet Vincent’s vocals show range stylistically, from shouts on the more raucous tunes, to lilting crooning reminiscent of The Weakerthans’ John K. Samson on the softer songs. He’s backed by precision in the form of the rest of The Big Bend. Abe Anderson on thundering drums is joined in the rhythm section by bassist Madison Stubblefield. Andy Voltz provides keyboard work that helps steer the feel of the record, from honky tonk piano to a mellotron sound straight out of Strawberry Fields. Dan Dickison provides lead-guitar counterparts to Vincent’s rhythm.
Far from flaming out, The Big Bend have spent years building up steam for this moment. Vincent is one of those figures who serve to show us that working hard and honing your voice really do pay off. Pittsburgh is already in on the secret of The Big Bend; the rest of the world is on the verge of finding out.