Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Album Review: Jake Owen - Barefoot Blue Jean Night

Jake Owen is somewhat of an interesting figure in country music.  He is pretty well known but, until now, he has never had a #1 Song or Album.  His two most famous hits, "Yee Haw" and "Eight Second Ride" never even cracked the top ten, reaching #16 and #11, respectively.  Most of that probably has to do with the fact that people probably do not know where to place him in the scheme of country music.  The two previously mentioned songs were more on the rock side and are well-played on the radio and in the bars.  His latest effort, though, has found the music that fits him perfectly and as a result, produces an album that is enjoyable from start to finish.

The first couple of songs on the album are catchy, but nothing special.  "Anywhere With You", "Keepin It Country" and "Wide Awake" are uptempo songs that lead well into Jake's first #1, "Barefoot Blue Jean Night". The summer anthem is catchy and does a good job of staying away from the typical overpowering anthems that typically mark the season.

The middle section is where the album really shines.  After "Barefoot", Jake slows it down for a piano-driven love song about a place called "Heaven" near town that is quite the romantic view.  Next, "Apple Pie Moonshine" picks it up slightly talking about how the tension between his country boy side and the upper class girl he has on a date is broken when she pulls out a jar of apple pie moonshine.  Stepping away from the love theme, the high point of this album is "The Journey Of Your Life".   Owen reminisces about the advice his grandpa gave him right before he died.  While some of the advice is cliche, the feeling Jake puts behind the words makes this a track that will get a lot of playtime on my media player.  Rounding out the peak of the album is "Alone With You", a song about the temptation of a woman who he cannot understand why he wants her.  The rhythm and emotion in the song makes it one of my favorites on the album.

"Settin The World On Fire" begins the back third of the album and while it is not a bad song, it feels out of place between "Alone With You" and "Nobody Feelin' No Pain".  The latter of which is where Jake moves back towards some of the rock that he is more known for.  The song could do without the "talking to the crowd" that occurs about the two-minute mark, but the older rock tone makes me think Jake is setting up to have next summer's anthem as well.  Owen closes with "The One That Got Away", a song about heartbreak rounds out the album nicely.

Overall, "Barefoot Blue Jean Night" is an album that really allows Jake to shine.  It also brought out a style that highlights his talents and demonstrates where his music fits best: around a bonfire with friends in the middle of summer.  8.5/10

Enjoy the video for "Barefoot Blue Jean Night"

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