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Jon Langston

Jon Langston EP – 2015 ( Self-released)

Reviewed by Dustin Blumhagen

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CDs by Jon Langston

With his brand of radio friendly mainstream country, a major label is exactly where Jon Langston appears to be aiming with his fourth EP. A short career has seen him being mentored by Chase Rice, building a fan base organically and ironing out his raw early country rock sound to a more polished production.

Langston seems ready to reach for the big leagues and reintroduce himself as a radio friendly voice. These songs are a huge progression from his previous work with giant hooks, much cleaner production and more intentional song writing. While it may not always come across as the most intellectual lyrical content, Langston appears to be aware of current trends and wants to capitalize on his ability to capture these themes in his music.

The lead track, "Rollin' in and Rockin' Out" is an upbeat pop rock number that lives up to its name. On "Southern Drawl," Langston takes a look at Southern girls in a way that everyone from Jason Aldean to Chase Rice has covered extensively. While that doesn't say much for his originality, the reality is that with a small number of writers in Nashville offices churning out song writing credits, there isn't a lot of originality coming from the mainstream, which shouldn't be surprising as this has been the case since the 1960's. There will always be guys like Sturgill Simpson to appeal to those who are looking for something a bit edgier. This however is straightforward radio country music with a bit of a pop edge and occasionally a splash of rock.

With the notable growth in both songwriting and production exhibited on this release, it is ironic that the standout track was originally released on his debut. "Forever Girl" is a simple love ballad that highlights the slight gravelly edge in his voice. Much like Brantley Gilbert, the bulk of his persona revolves around upbeat anthems, while the best tracks are the restrained moments buried in the track list.

This is the most accomplished release from Langston. He hasn't managed to secure much radio play yet, but these songs fare well when played alongside much of the current mainstream country scene.