The Big Mighty
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The Big Mighty

Band Pop Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"A bigger, mightier Big Mighty"

So maybe Thomas Wolfe wasn’t entirely accurate when he titled his final great novel “You Can’t Go Home Again.” It alludes that any success abroad, for any artist, effectively puts the roadblock on the return route, and that just isn’t always the case.

Take as proof the instance of The Big Mighty, the Augusta-based trio that logged about 300 miles heading north on I-20 and I-95, collectively, in what was essentially a blind jaunt to Virginia Beach, Va. Both the band’s talent and the musical strength of their hometown’s scene have grown exponentially since last April (when The Big Mighty made the faith-based move to the coastal town), but when the two are reunited, it’s always with open arms all around.

Ironically, the reason The Big Mighty is so well-loved and warmly welcomed back in Augusta is along the same lines as the reason the band originally decided to make the move three states away. When the band called Augusta home, its shows were favorites because they were characterized by casual effervescence and boundless pop energy, regardless of which of the many lineups happened to be playing (a family tree might best explain the group’s lineage). But the trio that exists now was the most versatile, jumping from acoustic, southern pop to deep funk to loose, extended rock jams with schizophrenic attention. And with just three gears on the axle, the band’s engine ran much smoother with less routine maintenance.

But those Augusta shows grew far too common, and The Big Mighty came dangerously close to self-imposed overuse. That threat of becoming prosaic, coupled with the whittling down of the band to its core of guitarist/vocalist Brandon Bower, bassist Nick “Levi” Pulaski and drummer Jason Neal (Guitarist Adam Hatfield had recently gone to work with Pat Blanchard’s band full-time and keyboardist John Watkins had pledged allegiance to Redbelly) found those three experiencing a moment of supreme realization that would lead directly to the relocation.

“We talked about it one night at the Soul Bar, and we had the intervention,” said Neal. “We were just like, ‘Let’s do it — let’s move!’ About a week after that, we got the call to do the house band thing, so we just left. It was kind of following faith, just jumping along and seeing where it takes us.”

The “house band thing” Neal refers to was the use of a connection established by his uncle, Mark “Sparky” Sleister, a virtuoso saxophonist who had served for a stint in the house band at Ocean Eddie’s, a beachfront bar/restaurant in Virginia Beach, years earlier. The bar had a slot open for the summer house band, and The Big Mighty jumped at the opportunity, making the trek up without any afterthought and adding Sleister as a full-time member soon after. But what was originally going to be a season abroad turned into an adopted home for the group.

“We did the summer thing, and we met a couple of really good people, and it helped us get hooked up with more clubs up here,” said Neal. “Mickey Pellino and our manager Laura Stalls, those two just kind of took us under their wings and loved the band the first time they saw us. We just decided to stay up here. We were just trying to get a fresh start, a fresh scene.”

Geographically, it makes sense that The Big Mighty found Virginia Beach to be an appealing and vital waypoint between the crucial north and the familiar south; it’s as strategically cushy a spot as any with its proximity to the Mason-Dixon line. From it, metropolises like New York City, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, as well as numerous college towns, are all reachable within a weekend drive. The Virginia Beach area itself offers a cornucopia of resources for a band at Big Mighty’s level — that is, of professional talent and commitment, but seeking a larger audience and workload. Being a tourist-reliant town, the profuse selection of nightclubs and restaurants in Virginia Beach and neighboring Norfolk is always in need of live bands.

Having diffused its name and sound throughout the club circuit in the Virginia area over the past year, The Big Mighty is now looking to veer out of that holding pattern and start making more disciplined and systematic chess moves. Neal unabashedly admits that the group has again come close to overexposure in Virginia Beach as well, playing four nights a week in the area for the last three months.

“It’s starting to affect us, so over the next week or two, we’re going to be knocking on our booking agent’s door to get us out and playing some college towns,” said Neal.

Working closely with engineer Tim Roberts (who has manned the boards on recent discs by Dave Matthews Band, The Neptunes and countless other top-shelf acts), the final shingles are being tacked onto Soul Haven Studios, the band’s own studio that will serve as its center for operations. Acquiring a van and trailer are also high on The Big Mighty’s grocery list, and will allow for the eventual acid test of touring outside of a 300-mile radius from Virginia Beach.

The acquisition of a touring vehicle, the construction of the studio, it all points to the deepening of The Big Mighty’s roots in Virginia Beach, and also to the unlikelihood that the band will ever again call Augusta home. But it’s important to note that though the original move out of Augusta was for the greater good of The Big Mighty, it wasn’t a hometown-abandoning, greener-grass move. The band simply needed a change of scenery, and it could’ve been from any city to any other city, really. And naturally, part of the band will always be rooted firmly in Georgia soil.

“We’re really, ultimately starting up over here, because we had all that stuff before (in Augusta),” said Neal. “But when the old band folded, we just had to reevaluate everything and start over. We were all born and raised there, so we all wanted to go somewhere else and see what it was like. Probably the biggest thing we miss there is the comfort. It’s the comfort of all the friends and family and venues we know.”
Andy Stokes - Metropolitan Spirit (Jul 1, 2005)
- Andy Stokes

"Mighty Good Music"

Band relocates but returns to perform

In the 1987 track “I Know You Got Soul,” Rakim dropped the seminal line on the hip-hop world, “It ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’re at.” Though this line has been appropriated ad infinitum—and you can now add this article to the heap—it still is a guiding light for artists of all ilk and from all backgrounds. Rakim’s gospel reveals that talent isn’t resting on your laurels, it isn’t namedropping the city you hail from, and it isn’t the story of how you got to the right here and now. Sure, these are all part of the puzzle, but talent is what you’re proving in the right here and now—your show of soul in each moment you have.

After relocating to Virginia Beach, former Augusta band The Big Mighty seems to have glommed onto this idea as well. Formed somewhere around the 25th hour on the last day of the 13th month of 2001 (do any bands exist with a defined beginning?), the band went through several changes in lineups while managing to keep their southern pop-cum-funk sound consistent and crowd pleasing. The (current) official band lineup is guitarist/vocalist Brandon Bower, bassist Nick “Levi” Pulaski, drummer Jason Neal and the most recent addition, saxophonist Mark “Sparky” Sleister.

During the band’s Deep South tenure they created quite a buzz in Augusta and surrounding college towns, but eventually the boys hit a wall.

“Before we moved, the music was in our brains but it wasn’t in our hearts yet,” Bower says. “But we were ready for a new vision, a new format—a new band.”

The rebirth came out of what was very nearly the band’s pine box. After splitting up in the summer of 2004, the future of The Big Mighty was thrown to the wind. But by the time the autumn gusts had slackened and the leaves settled, the band was on the mend and performed a much-welcomed paint-peeling gig on Thanksgiving night at Surrey Tavern. Finding their chops again, Big Mighty decided it was time to flex a little bit.

“The big idea of the move came about after the Thanksgiving Show,” Bower says. “We were sitting in the Soul Bar, and we began to talk about moving somewhere, but none of us really knew where. Jason’s uncle Sparky was sitting with us, and he said he used to play with a house band at a beachfront bar called Ocean Eddie’s in Virginia Beach, and he could probably get us the gig.”

So began the next phase of The Big Mighty’s career, with a new locale and no looking back. They also gained a new member, as Sleister soon devoted his deft sax playing to the band fulltime. As the house band at Ocean Eddie’s, Big Mighty immediately had four confirmed gigs a week for six months, and, as word began to catch on about the new band in town, was able to fill their calendar each night of the week.

The quartet still performs the jam-based southern rock, but Bower says that after a few months in Virginia Beach there was “a more honest, soulful and defined turn in the music.”

Having moored in a seaside community stocked with creative capital, The Big Mighty has wasted no time in unloading their newfound verve in the studio. The six-song EP First Wind, recorded last spring at Windmark Recording Studio, has a nascent quality of professionalism not heard on previous studio work, partly due to Big Mighty’s growth as musicians, and partly due to the work of engineer Tim Roberts. At 23, Roberts has already turned the knobs for many high-profile acts such as Dave Matthews Band, Usher, and the Neptunes. The relationship between The Big Mighty and Roberts goes beyond contract engineering work – the two have pooled their resources and are building Soul Haven Studios, which will be the artistic nerve center for Big Mighty when the doors open this December.

The Big Mighty has come quite far since leaving Augusta, but all this is not to say that they have forgotten about the dear old CSRA. They are playing Thanksgiving night at the Soul Bar, and they are participating in the 12 Bands of Christmas on December 18 at the Imperial Theatre.

“It’s awesome coming home. The crowd receives us well, and we miss them and are always ready to play for Augusta,” Bower says.

“It’s funny, when we lived in Augusta, we never got any press,” drummer Jason Neal comments. “Now that we’ve moved away, we’re getting press at home.”

That’s because where you’re from can’t help but notice where you’re at.
Walter Worsham - Lounge Magazine (Nov 16, 2005)
- Walter Worsham


"First Wind" 6 song EP-released in 2005
"Mundy Night Sessions" 5 song EP released in 2002



In these days, it’s hard to find true heart-driven music. Many musicians get caught in the “mainstream” of the industry and forget that they have a talent in themselves, often accepting the pre-engineered sounds that are predominantly heard. There is one group of musicians that are not afraid to express their soul through music. We invite you on a sonic journey with The Big Mighty!
Hailing from Virginia Beach, VA (by way of Augusta, GA) The Big Mighty combines southern soul with progressive movement to form a sound that is undeniable. At the forefront of this powerhouse are Brandon Bower’s vocals. Many say it’s a culmination of early day Joe Cocker and a twist of present day singer/songwriter Monte Montgomery. Along with a strong vocal ability, Bower handles all of the guitar work. Some of the influenced sounds that are first noticed include David Gilmour, Trey Anastasio, and Dave Matthews.
The rhythm section is comprised of three individuals who are well in-tune with Brandon’s every thought. Behind the drum kit is Jason Neal and on bass guitar, Levi Alawicious. These two musicians lay down a groove that is reminiscent of early Double Trouble (Stevie Ray Vaughn) and fill in the bottom end of the The Big Mighty’s sound. Mark Sleister adds the perfect sound with his dynamic approach to the Saxophone. In today’s music scene, the sax is an instrument that isn’t heard often enough.
With a new full length album in the works, The Big Mighty is poised to open up their market to develop their talent and expand their fanbase while making new fans along the way. This recording will show audiences how they express their influences and make a totally original sound of their own. We thank you for taking the time to learn more about The Big Mighty and hope you will enjoy what we have to offer.