Big Jim Brown
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Big Jim Brown

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"Roots Rock"

-Kieth Spera
Sound Advice - Our guide to the week's best bets.

After several years of searching out a sound, Sweet Pea's Revenge finds one on "Side Road to Paradise", the trio's new CD.

Guitarist, vocalist and primary song-writer Jim Brown, drummer Stephen Randall and bassist Andy Mayer draw on Southern rock tradition -- the storytelling, the imagery, the snarling electric guitars, the despair stalking the good times -- to build compelling roots rock anthems flecked with [alt.] country. The menacing guitar licks on the opening "Gretsch and the ol' Silverados" contrast with the pastoral passages of "Hope." Brown offers a shoulder to lean on in "Ain't no call for the sorrow," then rides shotgun over the boogie of "I Belong." The shadow of the Allman Brother falls across "Only One Way," both in the sustained guitar notes and Brown's Gregg Allman-like bark. The opening of "Further Gone" evokes David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust," then quickly veers into country territory. In "Rudy," a rock'n'roll dream takes an unexpected turn. But as "Side Road to Paradise" makes clear, Sweet Pea's Revenge has found the right path.

- The Times-Picayune/Lagniappe (December 10, 2004) New Orleans, LA

"Jazz Fest regulars play at the Goat"

Sweet Pea's Revenge will play at the Goat in Keystone today at 10pm. The New Orleans band members, who are regulars at Jazz Fest, have rocked crowds at well-known venues such as the House of Blues and Tipitina's in New Orleans.

The band is known for a New Orleans rock-funk sound, creating a gutsy garage rock that draws from influences such as the Rolling Stones, the Black Crows and Santana.

The show will feature polished original songs and possibly a few inspirational covers of classics such as "Papa Was a Rolling Stone."

- Summit Daily News (March 18, 2004) Summit County, CO

"Playing Around"

-Noel Black

New Orleans blues rockers Sweet Pea's Revenge will be back in Colorado Springs promoting dancing, good times, and more dancing! With only [5] years under their belts as a rollicking, good-times band, SPR has logged a surprising number of miles on the old odometer leaving nothing but good times in their wake. Composed of Jim Brown (not to be confused with the Hall of Fame running back for the Cleveland Browns) on guitar and vocal chords, Stephen Randall (not to be confused with Tony Randall) on the skins, and Rob Schafer (not to be confused with beer) on bass, you just know these boys from the N.O. are bound to be spicy and eclectic. Owwwwwwwwww.

- Colorado Springs Independent (October 30-November 5, 2003) Colorado Springs

"Music City Blues Corner"

-Shan de Bayou

Picks of the Month

My secret pick is for y'all who wanna hear some New Orleans funky, swamp, blues, rock in that great little 2nd Avenue room, Windows on the Cumberland. The band, Sweet Pea's Revenge, features former Crescent City percussionist Tom Larson, known around here as the 4-time Bluesy Award winner for drums and percussion. They'll be ther on September 10th. A Wednesday, and at the Boro in Murfreesboro on the 11th. Check their site:

- Nashville Music Guide (September 2003) Nashville, TN

"New Orleans Music all weekend at Forrester's"

Forrester's features two diverse nights of New Orleans music this weekend. The blues-rock Sweet Pea's Revenge plays Thursday, March 27 and on Friday, March 28, guitarist Brian Stoltz leads the Funky Meters.

Sweet Pea's Revenge singer, guitarist and songwriter Jim Brown has lived in Atlanta and New Orleans. Brown is proud to point out that his musical approach takes equal influence from each of his former hometowns, The Georgia rock of the Alman Brothers, Black Crowes, and Widespread Panic and the New Orleans Funk of the Meters and Radiators.

Formed in New Orleans in 1998, Sweet Pea's Revenge brought their sound together with a series of local gigs at venues like Tipitina's and House of Blues. The band recorded their latest record Live: Rollin' With the Pea at Ruby's Roadhouse in New Orleans last summer. While the band's sound is solidly in the blues-rock category, Sweet Pea's Revenge's live performances appeal to a variety of music fans by featuring covers like "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone," "Smokestack Lightning," and even Drivin'N'Cryin's "Straight to Hell."

- Oxford Town (March 27-April 2, 2003) Oxford, MS

"How Sweet it is, this Saturday"

-R. Moore

Sweet Pea's Revenge might surprise you; they're a band from New Orleans that can play funk and still manage to sound fresh and entertaining.

Now, I love the nastiest of funk and after growing up in Louisisana and listenig to the Meters for a good span of years, I realized some time ago that it just doesn't get any better than those guys. So, the idea of listening to one more "funk" band out of New Orleans doesn't really get me excited much anymore.

What a pleasant surprise then, to find out that Sweet Pea's Revenge is no run-of-the-mill funk band. A power trio that incorpotates elements of classic American rock'n'roll and blues more than anything else, they draw from a wealth of influences including the Rolling Stones, the Black Crowes, Widespread panic, Santana, The Meters and the Radiators. Lead vocalist jim Brown possesses a throaty growl reminiscent of Joe Cocker or Panic's John Bell, while the rythm section (Stephen Randall-drums; Rob Schafer-bass) is tight and more than capable of stretching out in lengthy jams.

Heavy touring has helped to establish Sweet Pea (a name borrowed from a local homeless person that the band knew) throughout the South, playing venues like House of Blues and Tipitina's, and sharing stages with such notable acts as Gov't Mule, Delbert McClinton, George Porter, Jr. and Calactic.

Though the band is only five years old, they've just released their third album, a live effort called Rollin' with the Pea. For more information, visit their website at or check out the Bayou groove yourself this Saturday at George St. Grocery.

- PO!NT (February 12, 2003) Jackson, MS

"Sweet Pea's Revenge travels the 'Side Road to Paradise'"

-Stephen Centanni

There are few bands that can express the overall personality of the New South. The last one that comes to mind that really hit it big in the mainstream was The Black Crowes. When I used to listen to The Black Crowes, I could close my eyes and get vivid pictures of floating on top of sweet tea waters through pine forests. I'm always on the lookout for a band that still inspires that feeling.

My most recent musical find riminiscent of these dreams is NoLa's Sweet Pea's Revenge, and most especially in their latest release "Side Road to Paradise." However, to call it a "find" would be highly inaccurate. Sweet Pea's Revenge actually found me in the form of a CD sent to my home.

This CD, whether it meant to or not, portrayed a concept to me both with its music and unique yet familiar cover art, which consists of several denizens of the Southern low country doing what they do best: sitting in a pick-up, drinking beer and enjoying themselves.

The CD within the case expresses this Southern leisure with dreamy folk rock and literary lyrics. It's no wonder that these guys were invited to play the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival last year. It's also no surprise that Bilotti's will be featuring them monthly beginning Jan. 6. I recently had the opportunity to chat with drummer Stephen Randall about the band's formation, making the CD and the Future of Sweet Pea's Revenge.

Sweet Pea's Revenge began with singer/songwriter Jim Brown. Stephen Randall was a welcome addition after they parted ways with their original drummer, and bassist Andy Mayer jumped in with the group over a year ago, and things have been on the up and up ever since. After sending submissions into Jazz Fest, they contacted the group in December of 2003.

"You have to apply to them really early," Randall explains. "So last December right after Christmas is when they invited us to play at the 2004 festival. We had an early morning slot on the last Sunday, and we were afraid that we were going to be rained out the whole time. We made it fine and the weather was great. It was all that we could hope for."

From there, they went onto record "Side Road to Paradise" with Paul Trahan at Mea Culpa Studios in New Orleans. Jim Brown's smooth, Southern vocals along with Randall's beats, and Mayer's slaps were a combination of success.

"It went pretty smooth," Randall explains. "We actually got the main tracks down infour or five days. Then jim went back a week or two later and did all the vocals in one day. I think he did some guitar overdubs the same day. The recording itself was in three or four days, but the mixing was spread out over several months." The result was a CD full of ideas and characters found on their own side road to paradise.

"Side Road to Paradise" begins with "Gretsch and the Ol' Silverados." This song brings forth bluesy rhythms combined with etheral guitar tellin the story of a dying "King of the Tennessee Stage" as he flashes back through his glory days. "Whiskey Train" follows with a ballad dedicated to intoxicated reasoning and the finality of a relationship set to Southern Beats and admirable vocals provided by Brown.

The CD's title song is quite unique and lives up to it's name. "'Side Road' is a song that Jim wrote," Randall explains. "There's three little stories in there. I know the basic idea behind it is that there are three people trying to make their way through life and end up on a side road to where they're supposed to end up."

The cover art somewhat represents this sentiment.

"The picture on the front came from Andy's dad," Randall says. "Andy's dad is a photographer. That is a picture that he took twenty some-odd years ago. Andy just e-mailed me this picture, and said, 'Hey, man, look at this picture. They look so cool and relaxed.'"

To me, this was a picture from the side road of paradise. The song has a serpentine rhythm with grooving vocals and stories telling of robbery, lost dreams and redemption. Other memorable songs include "Rude New California," which is a sermon explaining the evils of L.A. and the attitudes that drive it. Of all stories pened by Jim Brown and Sweet Pea's Revenge, "Rudy" is probably my favorite. They take on country rhythms to tell that age-old story of a good-looking guy making his way through the music industry.

If describing their music isn't enough to convince you of Sweet Pea's sound, then maybe telling you that has sold out of their CD might be enough. Are you still not convinced? Well, I suggest heading down to Bilotti's Jan. 6 and checking them out for yourself.

Can't make it then? That's OK; Bilotti's will be featuring Sweet Pea's Revenge on a monthly basis.

Stephen Centanni is a contributing writer for Lagniappe as well as the managing editor/senior writer for Volume Entertainment Magazine. You can reach him at: - Mobile Lagniappe (Jan. 5-18, 2005) - Mobile, AL - Music feature article/interview.

"'Side Road to Paradise' - CD review"

-Dan Willging

Not too many bands can claim their moniker was inspired by a cantankerous street person. Back in [the] Pea's embryonic formation where, rehearsals occurred in a rented pad in the Warehouse District, they were constantly harassed by the infamous Sweet Pea, a local legend of street lore. Well, they reasoned, should they ever flop, it would be Sweet Pea's revenge for all the cacophony they inflicted upon his domain. Given these proceedings, which represents their best to date, the trio shouldn't be belly flopping any time soon.

While their Southern rock-rooted, occasionally jamming tunes may whisk you back to two dollar pitcher nights and wet t-shirt contests, it's also sealed with a crafty troubadour quality with Jim Brown's barroom rockin' originals. Brown spins intriquing tales about life's seedier characters, wheter it's the womanizing Gretch or the former hood who opts for the good book and it's more lucrative payoff. "Further Gone," the best of this bunch, is about the aspiring rocker better destined for country stardom.

Other songs are spawned from more inside personal experiences ("Spin Me") or are consoling in nature ("Ain't No Call for the Sorrow"). Good stuff from the green guys.

A note from the band: Dan, while giving us a great review, has confused the song titles. He has picked a favorite song, saying it is "the best of the bunch," the song about an aspiring rocker destined for country stardom is called "Rudy,"and "Further Gone" is a different lament. - Offbeat Magazine - New Orleans, LA

"Sweet Pea's Revenge brings southern sounds to Summit - Feature Article/Interview"

The band plays toight at the Goat in Keystone
-Lauren Slaughter

KEYSTONE- Dust off your air guitars and get ready to rock because Louisiana natives are bringing the sounds of the new southern rock to Summit County.

Southern band Sweet Pea's Revenge plays at the Goat at 10pm tonight.

"There's a big wad of people who like what we do," drummer Stephen Randall said. "And the crowd just gets bigger every time."

Jim Brown is the singer, songwriter and guitar player of Sweet Pea's Revenge. Stephen Randall plays the drums and Andy Mayer plays the bass. Randall describes the music as "Americana rich rock"

The band is based out of New Orleans. It has played just about everywhere and has a name in the southeast states at such places as the Houlse of Blues in New Orleans and Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville in Key West, Fla.

The band has been together about seven years, and Mayer is the newest member, having joined the band two years ago. Sweet Pea's Revenge has released four albums - three studio and one live recording. It's most recent release is called "Side Road to Paradise."

Sweet Pea's Revenge is also the group to see at festivals such as the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Florida SpringFest in Pensacola and the Steel Pony Biker Fest in New Orleans.

As a group, the band creates what they like to call "gutsy garage rock" that draws from influences such as the Rolling Stones, the Black Crowes, Santana, the Allman Brothers, the Meters, the Radiators and Widespread Panic.

The live shows features dozens of polished original songs and a few inspired covers of classics such as "Papa Was a Rolling Stone."

The Musicians have played with the likes of Government Mule, George Porter Jr., Delbert McClinton and Galactic, and they are consistently rebooked wherever they play, acoording to their website.

Randall said the group generally plays in the Gulf south where they constantly get a great response, but they've added Summit County to their list of venues because they've recieved such a positive reaction to their hip bluesy style here.

"We always have a great crowd in Summit County," Randall said.
- Summit Daily News (February 19, 2005) - Summit County, CO

"Big Jim Brown getting radio time"

This is a list of radio stations that have seen fit to include Sweet Pea's Revenge in their rotation.

Independent Stations:

90.7 WWOZ New Orleans, LA
104.7 WKJC NE Michagan

College Stations:

91.1 WVRS Nashville, TN
89.7 WVFU Tallahassee, FL
91.1 KLSU Baton Rouge, LA
90.9 KSLU Hammond, LA
88.7 KRVS Lafayette, LA
88.5 WUSM Hattiesburg, MS

Internet Stations: (Roots Rock Radio)

International Stations:

*Ennis, County Clare, Ireland -
Country Corner - Clare FM Radio

*Lengerich, Germany - 95.6/95.2/99.3 - Hillbilly Rockhouse

*Berlin, Germany -

*Lienz, Austria -
Go West Go Country - Radio Osttirol

*Winschoten, The Netherlands - syndicated show - Alt. Country Cooking - slimjim productions


-"Side Road to Paradise" (3rd full length studio CD [4th overall] released Dec. 2004)
-"SPR Live: Rollin' with the Pea" (1st full length live CD released June 2001)
-"Bloodfire" (2nd full length studio CD, released 1999)
-"Sweet Pea's Revenge" (1st full length studio CD, released 1997)



Big Jim Brown was the creative engine behind Sweet Pea's Revenge for over 7 years. He is continuing his push for quality music for radio by presenting himself and his alt' country/ roots rock sound under his own name. A change that is long overdue.

"These guys are so good, they make me want to dance all night!" -random female fan at the Green Parrot in Key West, FL

Big Jim Brown represents a return to the gritty, raw sound that American rock-n-roll was born from. People are tired of the antiseptic, generic sounds coming from corporate radio and they are re-discovering the beauty of music created by musicians. Big Jim Brown is on the leading edge of this movement. Writers can't help but link him up next to some of the best in the business like Gov’t Mule, Robert Earl Keen, Drive By Truckers, The Radiators, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. When performing live they inspire “A soulful experience that you can dance to.”

Big Jim tours extensively throughout the Southeast and Mountain West, playing to appreciative crowds at every tour stop. They have also been active on the festival scene with appearances at *The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival*, the Carrollton Street Festival, and the Steel Pony Festival, all in New Orleans, as well as Pensacola’s Florida SpringFest. Multiple festivals throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida have seen Big Jim Brown grace the big stage.

Reviews of Big Jim performances and CDs have been unanimously positive: “The band’s music is a sophisticated style” . . . “Vocalist and guitarist Jim Brown is a talent, with a rough-edge voice that is alternately seductive, strong and soulful. “Their performances are tight and close-knit” . . . “[SPR] plays down’n’dirty rock’n’roll, with plenty of air-guitar-worthy riffs” . . . “They are a refreshing change from the alternative that’s not so alternative anymore.” . . . “Fans of roots/rock jamming will want to see [them play] live.” . . . “In their work ethic, they subscribe to that blues maxim that says one should play as often as humanly possible. It’s why they sound tighter now than ever before, laying down a sort of laid-back intensity that sounds like an old T-Bird looks: sleek and shiny on top, gritty and dirty under the hood.”

Check out the website,, for more information, touring schedules, pictures, and music clips.