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Blaine Larsen

Off to Join the World – 2005 (BNA)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Blaine Larsen

Blaine Larsen's CD succeeds because of its strong songs and stylistic variety. Larsen doesn't have a particularly distinctive voice and lacks the natural range resonance of, say, Joe Nichols. But he nevertheless comes off as both likeable and believable.

Rather than making broad generalizations, the 18-year-old Washingtonian's multiple message songs take a much more subtle approach. One instance of this tactic is found in "In My High School," where many of the world's prejudices can already be found fermenting in these seemingly innocent educational institutions. He also takes a shot at faux country with a few lines from "That's Just Me" and tells the familiar hard luck Nashville songwriter's story through "If Merle Would Sing My Song."

Larsen clearly appreciates traditional country music, which comes through during the sprightly bounce of "That's Just Me," as well as with the western swing that propels "Yessireebob." "I've Been To Mexico" has an easygoing, south of the border sway to it while it describes the way Mexico can sometimes be the right relaxant for almost any sort of modern day stress. Although he's off to join the world, Larsen has more than solidified his membership within the country music family with this fine new release.