An absolute powerhouse of a debut album, THE CROSSING introduced the world to Big Country's uniquely heartfelt and soaring guitar-rock sound. Stuart Adamson became an instant guitar-god to millions of rock fans who had suffered through years of disco and ersatz new wave just waiting for such a new hero. While his rock star eminence was far too brief, Adamson fit the bill remarkably well, being both an electrifying guitarist and a gifted lyricist with a (seemingly) sincere populist bent. In addition to Adamson, the band featured co-founder Bruce Watson (guitar) and proficient session players Tony Butler (bass) and Mark Brzesicki (drums). This same lineup, barring a few brief shakeups, stayed steady all the way through to the group's final days in late 2001.
All of the songs on THE CROSSING are superb, ranging in tone from stirring anthems like "In A Big Country", "Fields of Fire", "A Thousand Stars" and "Inwards", to more down-to-earth and surprisingly romantic ballads like "Chance" and "The Storm". Most of the music here has a deep emotional warmth that immediately set the band apart from many of the other stadium-rock bands of the time. Big Country didn't really fit in with any preconceived idea of what constituted an "80's band" and, consequently, twenty years later THE CROSSING still sounds as unique and vital as the day it was released.
Big Country was prolific during its first years of existence, producing lots of great music that didn't make it to any of their albums. The CD reissue of THE CROSSING contains five excellent additional tracks, four of them taken from the superb follow-up WONDERLAND EP, the title track of which is arguably Big Country's most stirring moment. These four terrific songs all seem to be of a piece with the rest of the album, making THE CROSSING even greater than ever. (The fifth "new" track is the re-recorded single version of "Chance".)