Jonathan Sexton took an extended break from music after the break-up of his most recent band, the Whiskey Scars. He used the time to travel and to finish his master’s degree, and once he started teaching kindergarten, he was ready to make a fresh start. Big Love, recorded with bassist Bryan Garvey and drummer Dave Campbell, is a departure from the Whiskey Scars’ alt-honky tonk, with an emphasis on smooth ’70s pop and blue-eyed soul.
Sexton has a big voice, but he never plays it for drama. The understated and largely acoustic arrangements are nonetheless silky and streamlined, especially on the title track, which benefits from vocal contributions by Elodie Lafont, Jen Rock, Mandi Lawson, Cruz Contreras, and Andrew Sexton. It’s a surprising new direction for Sexton, but it works.