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James Otto - Days Of Our Lives (Mercury Nashville)
CD Review by Cheryl Harvey Hill

James Otto credits "writers' nights" in Nashville for shaping his style and fine tuning who he is as a singer and a songwriter. He says that watching other artists taught him how to "mesmerize a crowd." Otto also says his objective is to make great music that moves himself "and hopefully other people." The voice and verve he demonstrates on his debut album, Days Of Our Lives, indicates that he has perfected the mesmerizing and the art of writing profoundly moving lyrics. Otto wrote or co-wrote six of the twelve songs on this album. "Misspent Youth" (based on his own life), "Song Of The Violin" (dedicated to his grandparents), the title cut "Days Of Our Lives," are all good but my favorite song on this album is "The Ball." I really liked Otto's voice on this particular song and the lyrics were emotionally conveyed with such ease. I also liked "Lowdown On The High Life." His bio states that he wrote this "do as I say, not as I do" song about his paternal grandfather who died from alcohol related illness. The pain he felt is audible in the lyrics as well as in his voice.

Otto sums up his own feelings about his music by referring to it as "rock meets pop meets country," and after hearing his first album, I would agree it is an apt description. When asked to describe his music style, he grins and responds, "It's the James Otto rockin' country-soul revue."

Otto's intentional lean towards, what he calls "rockin' country" should garner him a solid fan base and carve him a comfortable niche' on the radio somewhere between Keith Urban and Kid Rock.

If you like your country with a definite edge, this one's a keeper.

Days Of our Lives  track list: 

1. Long Way Down
2. Gone
3. Misspent Youth
4. Miss Temptation
5. Sunday Morning, Saturday Night
6. Song Of The Violin
7. She Knows
8. Days Of our Lives
9. If It's The Last Thing I Do
10. The Ball
11. Lowdown On The High Life
12. Never Say Goodbye


Rating: Try it then buy it!

Website Review by Jim Weaver:
Welcome to the antithesis of last weeks Clint Black review, nah... it's not that bad, however James Otto's site is a FLASH Monster. God help you if your trying to load this puppy in your browser at 28.8. It's also a Singing Site, the music is gonna play weather you're ready or not so turn those speakers down if you're at work. You can turn the music off, the button is in the upper left corner. At the time of this writing the NEWS page wouldn't load on the site, I'm sure they will fix that soon, hey stuff happens. The site has most of what a passing fan might want to see but you have a dig a little for the good stuff, apparently that comes when you join the James Otto i-Squad! See website for details. The one thing that makes James' website ultra-cool are the FLASH Guitar Strings that play and vibrate when you mouse-over them, I promise you will sit and play with those for at least 10 minutes. I could be wrong but I believe it's playing a "C" chord, somebody check that out for me please right now I'm too tired to go get my guitar.
Overall it's a great looking site, it's just no one was thinking about the low bandwidth web-surfer when they designed it.

Rating: Could Be Better!

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