By Holly O. Austin

For the Triplicate

With a sound that band member Monty Byrom calls andquot;soul country,andquot; Big House will perform after 6 p.m. tonight at the Del Norte County Fair.

Considering themselves as primarily an acoustic band, Big House feels they andquot;tear away the excesses of modern country musicandquot; by injecting a taste of soul into their bluesy vocals and by focusing on lead guitar work and rhythms.

Byrom is the lead singer for the band, and also plays guitar. David Neuhauser plays lead and slide guitar, piano and does vocals.

Steve Vines and Benny Rappa sing back up vocals; Vines also plays bass and Rappa plays drums.

The band's debut album was andquot;Big Houseandquot; on MCA Records (1997), which contained a hit single titled andquot;Cold Outside,andquot; about which Billboard magazine said, andquot;nothing sounds like this a breath of fresh air.andquot;

On their second CD andquot;Travelin' Kind,andquot; the band's country and rock roots came together again. One of the songs on the album andquot;Faith,andquot; a ballad in which Big House painted a bittersweet musical canvas, went into the Top 30 in country music.

After touring the United States and Canada throughout 1999, to excellent reviews, Big House released a long-awaited third CD this year.

The band feels that andquot;Woodstock Nationandquot; (Dead Reckoning Records, 2000) is their best work yet.

From the soul searching title cut andquot;Woodstock Nationandquot; to the playful andquot;Girl Can't Help Itandquot; and the haunting loneliness of andquot;Rivertown, Big House has produced emotionally charged music.

The sparse production on Big House recordings captures the spirit of their live performances. andquot;We record live in the studio,andquot; Neuhauser said. andquot;We do a thing called under dubbing: we go in play everything live, then we take stuff out to keep it sparse and simple. We are a living testament to the belief that if you never give up and stick to what you believe in [you will succeed].andquot;

andquot;This band is about honesty,andquot; he concluded. andquot;[It's] about disregarding formulas, about stripping away the veneer to get to the heart of their music.andquot;

The country music show starts at 6 p.m. tonight in the main Grandstands at the fair. Amy Clawson will open beginning at 6 p.m., with Big House taking the stage at approximately 7 p.m.

Admission to the show is free with the cost of admission to the fair at the gate: $6 for adults and $3 for children 6 to 12 years, with children 5 and under free.