Clevelander Tom Szell and the rest of Big Shoes Release New Album of “Step On It!”

What happens when former sidemen for some of the most famous musical artists find themselves without something to do? They end up discovering each other and decide on doing something together. So is the case for a band called Big Shoes, a band of former sidemen situated down in Nashville that have performed with the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Van Morrison, Taj Mahal and more. The band of talented sidemen consists of:  Rick Huckaby – Vocals, acoustic guitar; Will McFarlane – Vocals, slide and electric guitar; Mark T. Jordan – Keyboards, vocals; Tom Szell – Bass guitar, vocals (a musician who comes from Cleveland, Ohio); Kenne Cramer – Electric and slide electric guitar, vocals; Andy Peake – Drums, vocals; and Bryan Brock – Percussion.

Together, the men of Big Shoes combined their talents to create a tribute band to the music of the group Little Feat, hence the name of the band. Since that initial concept, the band has begun writing their own stuff that is just as deeply entrenched in the style of the Blues as the band they had been paying homage to. Having already released one album called Shoe Blues, the band is currently celebrating the release of their second album. The newest release from Big Shoes is entitled Step on It.

Step on It from Big Shoes begins with the track “Duplex Blues”. The music and the lyrics of the song feel very familiar in their direction as the track features a strong Blues/Rock feel to the music that brings to mind the style of The Band. “Duplex Blues” would easily fit right in with any Rock and Roll track on an Oldies format.

With the track “There You Go,” the band adds a lot more Blues influence to their music. The addition of Funk influence that exists within the track helps to add a lot of depth to the music. The band of Big Shoes creates track that finds each and every person adding short little solos throughout the track. As no one person takes an extended break on their instruments until the guitar solo late in the track, the track has a solid ensemble feel to it. And with each note, the band members show off their individual musical talents.

It is on the track “The Last One to Leave” that the band hits their stride as they create a track with a strong commercial feel to it. The Blues-infused track brings to mind someone like Bonnie Raitt or Johnny Lang, someone who features a lot of Blues flavor in their sound without truly being a straight-out Blues performer. “The Last One to Leave” has such a strong commercial feel to the music and lyrics that the track could easily fit on any modern-day Top 40 radio format.

The band changes their style with the track “Don’t You Do Me that Way”. While the previous tracks mainly contain a strong Blues direction, this track finds the band focusing a more Soulful feel to the music. The Blues/Soul combination that comes through on the track is thanks to a very strong and soulful guitar. The piano and organ on the track add a lot of feeling to the music, as well. “Don’t Do Me That Way” is one track on the Step on It album from Big Shoes that will get your toes tapping.

Most of the Step on It album from Big Shoes revolves around the sound of the guitar. However, with the next two tracks of “Bad For You” and “Dixie Melody,” it is the piano Mark T. Jordan that takes center stage. On “Bad for You,” the piano on the track add a lot of Blues feel to the track. And with “Dixie Melody,” the piano is used to help create a track with a sold Soul feel to it. When the rest of the band joins in on the tracks, the tracks come to life and show off two different sides to their sound.

After several tracks revolving around the piano, the band of Big Shoes returns their sound to being based around the guitar. The track “Ain’t Nobody Loves You like Me” once again features a Blues/Rock sound. Ultimately, the musical direction of the track brings to mind the style of Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band. The feel of the track takes the listener back to the Rock and Roll style of the seventies. Like much of the album, “Ain’t Nobody Loves You like Me” would easily fit on radio formats back several decades ago.

Throughout the eleven tracks that make up the 2018 release of Step on It from Big Shoes, the band creates music that bring to mind styles made famous by the same types of musicians that the individual players in the group used to back up. Because of that type of influence within each and every player in Big Shoes, it should come as no surprise that the band’s new album would be both a solid offering and very appealing to fans of older Rock and Roll music.


For a taste of the music of Big Shoes, check out their song “Don’t You Do Me That Way“. 




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