Big Picture Album Review

In singer-songwriter Noah Grove’s debut full-length album Big Picture (self-released in July 2016), it is a fiery sincerity that bleeds through every track. Paired with the raw rhythms of his acoustic guitar, his voice—doused in warm, breezy soulfulness—carries a water-like clarity that reflects his characteristic devotion to cutting honesty.

In the 11-track album, produced and recorded in his home studio, the Tennessee native candidly navigates through themes of love, family and hardships, all drawn from personal experiences. The title track “Big Picture” is an earnest plea to step outside the self-imposed prison of one’s mind: “Don’t be a poor man in your mind / For what you imagine you’ll find,” he croons. “Big picture / Try to see the big picture.” The hook reveals the far-reaching breadth of his vocal chops, his bellows filled with conviction. Songs like “Holding a Key” and “Unequal Love” reveal a more delicate side to the singer-songwriter as he addresses a lover in intimate whispers reminiscent of the soft croons of Iron & Wine.

Another standout song is “Get on the Upbeat,” an uplifting, mantra-like anthem that bounces on the upbeat as Grove urges the listener—and himself—not to stay “on the downbeat / for far too long.” The playful pairing of his technical strumming and effortless vocal phrasings encapsulates Grove as a singer and songwriter. Full of heart, his songs, which carry a timeless quality, flow through him as effortlessly as the wind blows through a tree.

“This album is important to me because of what it stands for,” Grove, 29, explains. “It’s been the work of my whole life up to this point. It’s more than just a collection of songs — it marks a lifestyle change, my decision to live dangerously and faith-based in the sense of going toward what I see is right. I’m striving to be a more honest person.”

Grove, whose influences span from Cat Stevens to Chopin, grew up under the influences of his musical parents. After several years of classical piano lessons, he picked up the guitar and began writing and recording songs in high school. Upon earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology at UT Knoxville in Tennessee, he spent seven months in Argentina where he performed for a crowd for the first time. He spent some time in Outer Banks, North Carolina teaching kite surfing and gigging intermittently, but feeling resistant to being complacent, he decided a change was necessary. So Grove packed his Honda CRV and drove cross-country to Long Beach, California, and has been a full-time musician ever since. In late 2016, after establishing a solid following in Long Beach, he embarked on his first solo cross-country tour, churning out countless songs on the road.

Grove’s next destination is Nashville, where he will be releasing his second full-length album, Beautiful Frankenstein.

– E.K.