Sunset Man by James Otto on Apple Music

11 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Ain't Gonna Stop kick-starts James Otto's sophomore long player like a brand new Harley Davidson with an old school chopper design — the song is rooted in Skynyrd-inspired Southern rock from the '70s, but updated with modern guitar effects and shining studio production courtesy of Big & Rich. Though it's easily the strongest rocking song on Sunset Man, it hardly sets the tone for an album that is mostly made up of moving country ballads, playful love songs and the kind of slow-burning, sultry numbers that inspire dirty dancing and one-night stands. Speaking of which, the sound of a beer can opening introduces "Drink & Dial," a funny ditty that warns rednecks about making inebriated booty-calls. Diametrically, the weepy "For You" is a heartbreaking serenade with lovelorn lyrics that could have been written in response to a Dear John letter. "Just Got Started Lovin' You" flirts with an '80s urban cowboy style as Otto's ascending baritone on the rootsy verses sounds uncannily influenced by Mel McDaniel's "Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On." "Your Good Thing's Gone Bad," one of the bonus tracks, is a soulful standout with its brilliant juxtapositioning of pedal steel and classic R&B melodies.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Ain't Gonna Stop kick-starts James Otto's sophomore long player like a brand new Harley Davidson with an old school chopper design — the song is rooted in Skynyrd-inspired Southern rock from the '70s, but updated with modern guitar effects and shining studio production courtesy of Big & Rich. Though it's easily the strongest rocking song on Sunset Man, it hardly sets the tone for an album that is mostly made up of moving country ballads, playful love songs and the kind of slow-burning, sultry numbers that inspire dirty dancing and one-night stands. Speaking of which, the sound of a beer can opening introduces "Drink & Dial," a funny ditty that warns rednecks about making inebriated booty-calls. Diametrically, the weepy "For You" is a heartbreaking serenade with lovelorn lyrics that could have been written in response to a Dear John letter. "Just Got Started Lovin' You" flirts with an '80s urban cowboy style as Otto's ascending baritone on the rootsy verses sounds uncannily influenced by Mel McDaniel's "Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On." "Your Good Thing's Gone Bad," one of the bonus tracks, is a soulful standout with its brilliant juxtapositioning of pedal steel and classic R&B melodies.

TITLE TIME
3:17
3:54
3:24
3:35
4:18
3:30
4:13
4:01
4:02
4:22
3:58

About James Otto

A country singer and songwriter with a Southern rock heart, James Otto was born into a military family at the Fort Lewis Army Base in Washington and grew up all over the U.S., including extended stays in North Dakota and Alabama. He started singing when he was only four years old, and learned both violin and saxophone before getting his first guitar at the age of 13. Both his father and grandfather were part-time musicians who played gigs in local bars, so music was hardly a foreign thing to Otto, but it wasn't until he spent time with his mother in Sand Mountain, Alabama that he really discovered the joys of country music. After graduating from high school, Otto did a two-year stint in the U.S. Navy and, following his release from active service, he moved to Nashville in 1998, attending various songwriting nights at the clubs there, soon falling in with the so-called MuzikMafia, a feisty group of writers and musicians including Big & Rich and Gretchen Wilson, who became the central players in a CMT reality show called MuzikMafia TV.

The exposure landed Otto a record deal with Mercury Nashville and he released a handful of singles and an album, 2002's Days of Our Lives, before being dropped by the label in 2004. Following a small screen role in Road House 2, he rebounded by signing with Raybaw Records, a Warner Bros. imprint, and releasing a second album, Sunset Man, produced by his brother-in-law (and Rascal Flatts member) Jay DeMarcus, in 2008. Sunset Man generated one big hit with the chart-topping "Just Got Started Lovin' You" and raised Otto's profile considerably, leading to several co-writing gigs including authoring Jamey Johnson's "In Color," which won Song of the Year at the 2008 Academy of Country Music Awards. Otto returned with his third album, Shake What God Gave Ya, in the fall of 2010. He parted ways with Warner after Shake What God Gave Ya, and spent the next five years out of the spotlight as he stockpiled songs. Otto re-emerged in 2015 with the self-released single "Somewhere Tonight." ~ Steve Leggett

  • ORIGIN
    Fort Lewis, WA
  • BORN
    Jul 29, 1973

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