Great Big World is Pierce Pettis' third recording for Compass Records, an album that once again delivers what fans have come to expect from this literate singer/songwriter: solid material, tasteful accompaniment, and a fine presentation. The album cover itself, a brightly hand-painted picture of a sailor in a small sailboat, seems to promise good things. As always, Pettis offers thoughtful material like "Leonardo," a reflection on the Renaissance's most well-known painter, and "Black Sheep Boy," a meditation on the allure of a misbehaving soul. Although Pettis is perhaps best known for his own compositions, he does a great job handling material by other writers, including Mark Heard's "Another Day in Limbo." There's also a fine version of the traditional "Shady Grove." Pettis' interpretations of his and others' work reveals him as a sensitive singer, and the low-key accompaniment provides solid, discerning support. While singer/songwriters have the rep of penning depressing pieces about love and life, Pettis ends Great Big World on an upbeat note with the hopeful "Love Will Find You Again" and the quiet "Song of Songs." Fans of Pettis' former work, and fans of singer/songwriters in general, will welcome the release of Great Big World.
AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.