The Big Idea
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The Big Idea

Cape Girardeau, Missouri, United States | SELF

Cape Girardeau, Missouri, United States | SELF
Band Folk Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Big Idea enlivens Cape music scene"

One wearing a leather jacket and dress shoes and the other with a ponytail in chefs' scrubs and apron, it doesn't appear that the two men sitting in Cape Girardeau's Mollies Café and Bar would know each other. Yet their connection unfolds as they sit in the bleak 2 p.m. light of a drizzly day pouring through the large windows of the closed restaurant.

They are two-thirds of The Big Idea, a local band that is fast becoming a veteran of Cape Girardeau's local music scene. Tommy Main, who works at Mollies as a cook, plays a six-string banjo and sings as well as the bass drum for the band's performances. Will Montgomery is the other man at the table, and he plays guitar and sings along with playing the hi-hat cymbals. These two have been performing together for a year before adding Hank Jones, bass player, about six months ago.

The band has played at quite a few venues around Cape Girardeau; including Broussard's, Rude Dog Pub, Breakaway's Bar and Billiards, Port Cape, and Pitter's (formally the Mississippi Mud House).

They play every fifth Sunday at Port Cape and have been playing at Broussard's every other Wednesday night since their beginning. "We didn't have anybody coming at first," said Main about their bi-monthly shows, "but it turned into a nice thing."

Outside of Cape Girardeau, The Big Idea has performed at the Schlafly Tap Room and City Museum in St. Louis, the Springfield Brewing Company, the Bloomheavy Hammock Ride music festival in southern Missouri and several other locations in neighboring states.

Both members agree on a description of their sound as "high-energy folk rock." "We definitely throw down for three guys," said Main.

Combining folk and funk sounds with "controlled yelling and screaming," the band has been told they sound like acts such as The Avery Brothers, Mumford & Sons, Bob Dylan and the Violent Femmes.

The Big Idea often mixes in covers of other bands' songs in with their original material. With their first full-length album coming out this spring, Montgomery said they hope to start playing more of their own songs. It will feature "piano and new instruments," he said. "We're building upon what we did the first time, everything evolves."

Main has been around musicians his entire life and cannot imagine himself doing anything else. "I started playing with my dad and brother when I was younger. I remember carrying speakers with my old man," he said. "Nothing else is as interesting."

Montgomery also said he has always had an interest in music. Seven years ago when he started college at Southeast Missouri State University, he bought a cheap guitar and started playing in his dorm and anywhere else he could find. Seeing people play in shops around Cape Girardeau, he thought to himself "This looks way fun."

"When we first started in Cape it was kind of dead, and now it's becoming a community, a collective scene," he said. "It finally came to fruition."

What is The Big Idea's ultimate goal as a band? "To the top!" jokes Main, before seriously adding "When it stops being fun, we'll pull the plug. When we stop having fun or it's not personal anymore, then it's done."

Having fun and travelling around the Midwest are Montgomery's hopes for the near future. "We'd like to get out and play more shows," he said. "Maybe one day we can stop working and do this fulltime."

Feb. 4 The Big Idea will be playing with The Doobie Derby Band at Pitter's and Feb. 18 will find them at Breakaway's with Green Relief. T-shirts and CDs are often available at shows. For a complete list of events or to listen to a few tracks, visit the band's Facebook page at - Capaha Arrow

"Cape Girardeau band The Big Idea hopes to add to its fan base with new CD, more shows out of town"

For the past three years, The Big Idea has been a regular on the Cape Girardeau band circuit and gained popularity among locals, but with its new CD, the band hopes to reach beyond city limits to expand its fan base.

The self-titled album includes 12 original songs and differs from last year's CD both in content and energy.

"The first CD we put out had seven songs, and it was kind of rushed because Will and I just wanted to get something out there to sell," band member Tommy Main said. "We wanted to record a new CD because our music has progressed so much. This new CD is different because it's more energetic and upbeat than the last one and is more representative of us as a band and where we're going."

Band member Will Montgomery said the album serves as a musical chronicle of the time the band spent on the road last year.

"This CD has a lot of good traveling music on it, so it would make a good road trip CD," Montgomery said. "A lot of the album was written while we were on the road and traveling to play outside of Cape Girardeau, so really the CD is a chronicle of us traveling with a few locally inspired songs mixed in there."

Main and Montgomery formed The Big Idea three years ago after playing together in a local cover band that eventually disbanded. The two musicians decided to start a new group and began playing local venues.

"In the beginning, Will and I both started out trying to play as many instruments as we could at once to try and make a two-man band sound bigger," Main said. "We tried everything we could to try and fill the space with as much sound as possible in order to make it sound like a full show."

After a year of playing as a duo, Main and Montgomery added bassist Hank Jones to round out the band's sound.

"We always wanted a bass player, but it was really hard to find somebody that was into our style and willing to put in the time to play," Montgomery said. "Hank actually used to come out and watch our shows as an audience member, and one of his friends recommended him to us as a bass player for the band. We decided to try him out, and it's worked out great ever since."

Since Jones' arrival, the group has frequently played venues in Cape Girardeau and worked hard to perfect its sound, which Main describes as "a mix between folk music and grunge grass."

Main plays guitar, banjo and bass drum while Montgomery handles high-hat, acoustic guitar and banjo. Dale Baker joins the band on bongos for a few songs, as well.

The band plays every first and third Wednesday night at Port Cape and recently began traveling to perform in cities such as St. Louis, Springfield, Mo., Jefferson City, Mo., and Chattanooga, Tenn.

Main said the band's added live shows helped shape the album.

"This new album is definitely more energetic," Main said. "It sounds more like we do when we play live, and that was our goal. We really wanted to record something that people could listen to and feel as if they were sitting and watching us in a live show. We wanted them to be able to close their eyes and listen to it without being able to tell the difference."

Montgomery said the time spent on the road not only shaped their new album but has also refined the band's sound, making them more polished.

"The regulars in our audience have definitely noticed a difference since we've started traveling," Montgomery said. "They tell us that we sound tighter and that we've gotten better over the last year."

The Big Idea is focusing on finishing out show dates scheduled for the summer and plans to start writing new material at the end of the season. Main said even though the band wants to shift its focus to writing, the group still plans to travel around the area and play as much as possible.

"We'd love to get on the festival circuit and we'd like to get to the place where we're able to work a lot less and be able to support ourselves with our music," Main said. "It's not even about getting famous, we've got a great fan base already, but our goal is to get to the point where we're playing all the time and supporting ourselves with it."

The Big Idea performs every first and third Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. at Port Cape in downtown Cape Girardeau. The band's CD can be purchased at shows, on iTunes or at For a full schedule of tour dates, visit - Southeast Missourian

"The Big Idea inject rock with a healthy dose of Americana" - KRCU

"Cape Girardeau band The Big Idea has some big plans" - Southeast Missourian


Demo EP - 2009

The Big Idea - 2011



When you need a soundtrack for a life full of sweet sadness accompanied by the unwavering happiness that is within us all, you need look no further than “The Big Idea.” Singing songs from the heart about lost loves, growing up, and rambunctious quarter-life antics; Tommy Main, Will Montgomery, and Hank Jones don’t just sing the words on the page… they live them.

While playing in the 90’s rock cover band “Trippin Tuesday,” Tom set out on a mission to form an acoustic string band that not only played and wrote songs that meant something, but to keep the music honest and pure whether playing covers or originals. He enlisted the help of fellow local acoustic musician Will Montgomery. Montgomery, a member of the former Cape Girardeau newgrass band “Tipping Holly,” just asked Tom when and where to show up. Together, the two set out to use their knowledge of acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin, bass, drums, and everything else under the sun to come up with a live show that is bigger than the two alone. With the addition of Hank Jones on bass guitar in the winter of 2009, the trio finally found the missing piece of the puzzle and low end punch that the former duo had been lacking.

Whether playing to a crowded bar full of rowdy patrons, or to the quiet atmosphere of the quaintest coffee shop, “The Big Idea” is at home in any venue big or small with a live show to match any environment. As Will says, “The Big Idea” isn’t just a band, it’s an idea that we have. The idea that three guys can trade off of on any number of instruments and make the people move…move them on the floor first and foremost…but hopefully by the end of the night, move them into rethinking what they want out of live music. It’s an idea that songs from the heart and the soul should always beat out the radio songs.”