13 Songs, 45 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Country music hasn’t seen a Southern soul man of James Otto’s caliber since the heyday of Conway Twitty and Ronnie Milsap. His third album Shake What God Gave Ya finds him veering even further towards Memphis (and away from Nashville) than on his previous releases. Otto’s full-bodied yet sweet-toned voice is matched by strong songwriting chops and a sure command of old-school R&B grooves. In tunes like “Groovy Little Summer Song,” “Just Like Sunshine” and “Lover Man,” he celebrates the simple joys of beachside margaritas and easy romance with a laid-back air. “Are Ya With Me” and the title tune get more raucous, giving Otto room to strut and swagger as well as seduce. A bit of an edge creeps into “It’s a Good Time (For a Good Time),” a party anthem with a Toby Keith-like blue collar feel. The album takes a serious turn with the ballad “Soldiers & Jesus,” a heartfelt commentary on sacrifice and faith. Otto acknowledges his musical roots by teaming up with Milsap on the slinky soul/pop number “Good Thing’s Gone Bad.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Country music hasn’t seen a Southern soul man of James Otto’s caliber since the heyday of Conway Twitty and Ronnie Milsap. His third album Shake What God Gave Ya finds him veering even further towards Memphis (and away from Nashville) than on his previous releases. Otto’s full-bodied yet sweet-toned voice is matched by strong songwriting chops and a sure command of old-school R&B grooves. In tunes like “Groovy Little Summer Song,” “Just Like Sunshine” and “Lover Man,” he celebrates the simple joys of beachside margaritas and easy romance with a laid-back air. “Are Ya With Me” and the title tune get more raucous, giving Otto room to strut and swagger as well as seduce. A bit of an edge creeps into “It’s a Good Time (For a Good Time),” a party anthem with a Toby Keith-like blue collar feel. The album takes a serious turn with the ballad “Soldiers & Jesus,” a heartfelt commentary on sacrifice and faith. Otto acknowledges his musical roots by teaming up with Milsap on the slinky soul/pop number “Good Thing’s Gone Bad.”

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