As you can probably tell by their name, Big Daddy Love is no gentle string quartet. Their music has been described as “a blend of rock, bluegrass, southern soul, and psychedelic jams.” One reviewer characterized them as “a band with teeth” (fortunately in both a literal and metaphorical sense). Identifying a single genre for Big Daddy Love is nearly impossible; all six members are comfortable playing almost any type of American music. Collaboratively, the band produces a unique sound that they have long referred to as “Appalachian Rock.”
Big Daddy Love (BDL to many fans) has released four CDs, most recently Live at Ziggy’s and This Time Around. One reviewer wrote, “Big Daddy Love is a force. The festival scene has been eating them up. If you haven’t been able to check them out yet, then you are missing out. It’s a foot-stomping good time at every single show, and they are the nicest guys I have met in music.”
The sextet, based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has played close to a thousand shows in more than half the states of the union, and lead singer Scott Moss says his head is still swimming from the band’s success. “It’s a total life change. You go from having a full-time job and playing on weekends to jumping in a van one day and playing 200 shows a year throughout the country. You have to be pretty committed to want that.” The group is rounded out by Matteo “Joey” Recchio on electric guitar and vocals, Brian Paul Swenk on banjo, Ashley Sutton on bass guitar, Scotty Lewis on drums, and the newest member, Bill Stevens, on keys, organ, and harmony vocals.
Along the way, they have played venues of all sizes, from listening-room coffee houses to the 20,000 seat PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC. Their festival resume ranges from local favorites like The Big What to larger regional festivals such as Bristol Rhythm & Roots and the premier southeastern festival, FloydFest. In 2010, BDL won FloydFest’s “Under the Radar” contest, which recognizes the best up-and-coming band of the festival. As to the origin of their name, “It started as a joke,” says Moss, “but since solidifying this current lineup, I believe the significance is obvious to the attuned listener. We’re all about spreading love and joy everywhere we go. A lot of our songs are centered around love, respect, and family, and those are the underlying themes we wish to spread with our performances. We want everyone to feel like they’re at home with us and to be part of our story as we travel the country playing the music we love.”
The music is only one aspect of the BDL experience. A close-knit community of fans has developed into an extended BDL family, many of whom travel throughout the southeast for multiple shows and are a huge part of what makes Big Daddy Love successful. “We’re constantly amazed by how many people have jumped on board with us and do so much to help us in every way possible,” says banjoist Brian Paul Swenk. “Whether it’s Kickstarter donations, giving us a place to stay on the road, or even giving their CDs away to friends and coming back to buy another, we’ve learned that it takes hundreds of people to help a band find success in today’s music industry.”