If you're name is James Otto, and you're playing a concert in the San Francisco Bay Area, you better be pretty good. Jim Otto, the former Oakland Raiders All-Pro, is a legend in those parts.
Well, James Otto didn't disappoint in playing the Saddle Rack, a large country nightclub in Fremont, Calif. It was the first birthday bash for 95.7 The Wolf, San Francisco's country music station. Yes, SF has a country station now.
Otto's acoustic show, along with fellow Muzik Mafia members Shannon Lawson and Jon Nicholson, was more like a jam session. The trio shared vocals for about an hour long show and even played "Sweet Home Alabama" along with the house band, Appaloosa, whose lead singer is former Nashville Star contestant.
Otto asked the crowd, "Have you ever seen a country show like this? You're not going to see another one again until Muzik Mafia shows up." He proved that right with his unique mix of country, rock, blues and soul.
I was expecting a standard concert with a full-band, but instead, it was like something out of a mix between Nashville and Muscle Shoals. Very impromptu, you never knew what they were going to do next. But they may have been trying to play up their Muzik Mafia ties. No need, the music spoke for itself.
Of course, Otto played hit songs like "Just Got Started Lovin' You", but the highlights were the covers, like a bluegrass-tinged version of "Fat Bottomed Girls" (AC/DC) and "Night Moves" (Bob Seger).
Then, there was the power-ballad type "You Don't Act Like My Woman," which seems like a future radio single for Otto.
Being at the Rack was a little piece of Texas inside California. There's only one other honky-tonk that I know of in the Bay Area, and that's the Rodeo Club in San Jose. The RC is definitely a Rack wanna-be. I just wish these places were more spread out, instead the two best honky-tonks are in adjacent towns.
It's too bad that I'll miss tonight's Ashton Shepherd show at the Rack, but it's a good thing that the SF Bay Area is getting some good country music in this week. We wait for months at a time for shows, and in one week, Otto, Shepherd, Chris Cagle (tonight at the Rodeo).
And what would a birthday bash be without a little cake? The radio station folks provided some delicious chocolate cake for the party. I know because I had two pieces.
And to top it all off, I listened to Alan Jackson "Good Time" album during the 1 hour, 15 minute ride back home. Stay tuned to read my thoughts on the new AJ.
I could have listened to it on the way to the show, but have you ever wanted to listen to an album so badly, that you wanted the anticipation to be higher, so you put it off for a while? That's what happened to me last night.