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Jake Owen

Endless Summer EP – 2012 (RCA)

Reviewed by Andrew Greenhalgh

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CDs by Jake Owen

Jake Owen has been described by some as an artist who has evaded the prototypical country music playbook. And while that may be true, on his "Endless Summer" EP, coaxing a bit more life out of his summer tour with Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney, the artist openly embraces the classic summer music formula, offering up airy, catchy jams that will remind you of cool breezes and warm waters.

Owen chooses to bookend his taste of summer EP with two classic road songs, the first of which being the aptly named Summer Jam. Fueled by laidback rock jams and a "hick hop" vocal delivery through the verse and a breezy chorus, the track invites you to roll the windows down and drive fast, while rocking guitars and playful lyrics of love play loud. The artist opts for the same formula on Sure Fire Feeling, offering up more lyrics of love and typical country rock.

It's the lighter side of country that Owen taps for his middle tracks, channeling an acoustic island feel. The feeling of a barroom sing-along colors Pass A Beer, with some choice acoustic guitar fills, DJ scratches, and "live" crowd noise throughout while his cover of Ben Harper's Steal My Kisses is a bit more mid-tempo, yet influenced by more island flair and breakdowns. It allows the band some time to shine, yet the overall track fails to impress, falling short of the original.

While no doubt appealing to existing fans and those who managed to catch a show over the past summer, like many a summer romance, these songs lack the depth needed to extend into the next season. While warm and airy, Owen will leave many wanting for the next dose of substance.