Zollo's rootsy songs and his band's loose, shambling grooves form a perfect match on his sophomore album. The feel shifts with the subject of each song; "While You Undress" is a lascivious grin, like a Rolling Stones take on cowboy punk, but "Eye Of the Needle," with its George Harrison-like slide guitar and nasal monotone vocals, presents a gospel message in cadences that recall the Traveling Wilburys. More than anyone, Zollo evokes John Mellencamp, through his dusty lyrics and appealing, rough-edged delivery. With admiral economy and straight-talking eloquence, Zollo finds new perspectives on timeless topics; "Get Away," the only non-original song on the album, is a head-bobbing rocker that stands up to the toughest standards of songs about small-town kids with big, distant dreams, while "You're Gonna Get What You Wanted" conversely celebrates the virtues of hanging around, over an equally contagious shuffle beat. But Zollo also shows a knack for tackling offbeat subjects from a populist angle, as on "Respect (Ain't a One Way Street)," an unlikely blue-collar meditation on etiquette. The Big Night is a snapshot of a significant talent in its first flower, a preview of what may be the next great voice of the Americana genre.
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AllMusic Review by Robert L. Doerschuk