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JJ Lawhorn

Original Good Ol' Boy (O.G.O.B.) – 2013 (Average Joe's)

Reviewed by Dustin Blumhagen

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CDs by JJ Lawhorn

One would be excused for dismissing JJ Lawhorn's debut album as another cheesy hick hop album, akin to label mate Colt Ford before listening. The backward ball cap and intentional hip hop imagery in the album title definitely don't scream "country." But shortly after hitting play, listeners will realize that what the eyes see and the ears here don't match up. While this is undeniably "new country," JJ Lawhorn's O.G.O.B. is more Good Ol' Boy than O.G.

Lawhorn has a heavy drawl, sounding vocally like a less whiny Justin Moore. The 13 songs delve into all of the topics that flood country radio these days. There is a song about pickup trucks, a song about how country Lawhorn claims to be and a song about hot girls and their tan lines. He definitely isn't interested in receiving a Pulitzer for his lyrics. But after a few listens, the cheese factor becomes less weary, and the songs stand on their own merit. These are songs that blend country sensibilities with country rock sounds, much like similar artists Montgomery Gentry and Brantley Gilbert.

He tackles the brighter side of rural life Good Ol' Boys Like Us and You Don't Know Me Very Well. These songs are celebrations of the community bonds and simple living that come with growing up in the country. These are nostalgic nods to a way of life that the majority of North Americans will never understand. Stomping Grounds is like the musical kid brother to MG's My Town. It's hard not to smile when listening to She Kissed Me Anyway, with its innocent storyline that seems like it was inspired by an episode of Hart of Dixie.

Lawhorn is still noticeably rough in some areas, but for the first release from such a young artist, it is an accomplishment he can be proud of. This is straight forward modern country music that celebrates rural roots.