Sunset Man

Sunset Man

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.

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