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Jake Owen

Startin' With Me – 2006 (RCA)

Reviewed by David McPherson

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CDs by Jake Owen

Call him the new kid on the country block. The 24-year-old Jake Owen is part new country, part old-school Music City and all parts honky tonk man. Blessed with a fine baritone voice, the Floridian's debut is a solid record of radio-friendly singles that mine the 'tear-in-my-beer' hurtin' and drinkin' songs territory associated with country music.

Titles such as "The Bad in Me" and "Ghosts" are first-person narratives that are pure honky tonk songs true and true about past failures and regrets. Nowhere is this truer than the cliché-ridden "Startin' With Me." Owen wrote or co-wrote all the songs on the disc.

Highlights include the drinking song "The Bottle and Me" and the ballad "Places to Run" that echoes some of Kenny Chesney's chart-topping hits. Owen closes with a dynamite duet with Alabama's Randy Owen, "You Can Thank Dixie" showing that this Nashville newbie is ready for the big time.