Big In Iowa


In the late 20th-century world of 15-minute fame and instant gratification, almost anyone with a modicum of talent, ambition, or savvy could be big on MTV or in Hollywood. But to be Big in Iowa was something altogether special. In particular it specifies that you were among the elite roots rock bands in a land teeming with good ones, a quartet for which critical comparisons to such rock icons as the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Van Morrison, and John Fogerty (all to whom Big in Iowa paid sonic homage) became the rule rather than the exception and for which such allusions, loaded as they seem, were largely apropos. The Big in Iowa phenomenon was initially foretold in the late '50s by a hot young rock & roll guitarist named Dick Burns, leader of the Do's and Don'ts, a combo that had recorded a number of strong 45 records, earning it a growing reputation and sizeable regional following. After watching the band tear through a performance during an opening slot for him, so impressed was Jerry Lee Lewis by Burns' skills on the six-string that he immediately offered him a spot in his touring group. The young guitarist, however, turned Killer down out-of-hand, providing the sensible rationale that the Do's and Don'ts were big in Iowa. A couple generations later, singer/songwriter and acoustic guitarist Bob Burns made good on his uncle's optimistic comment, turning out some of the finest, most soulful American country-rock of the '90s and into the new century as one member in Cincinn...

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