James Otto

Sunset Man – 2008 (Warner)

Reviewed by Michael Sudhalter

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CDs by James Otto

James Otto is a member of Muzik Mafia, and his second album reflects the eclectic influences of his troupe. The Washington State native combines country, rock, blues and soul on the 11 songs. He does everything from rockin' tunes about partying, "Ain't Gonna Stop," to the first single, the mid-tempo love song, "Just Got Started Lovin' You." Otto is also in full-party mode with the catchy tongue-in-cheek "Drink and Dial" and the R&B influenced "The Man That I Am." He delves into relationship troubles with the "You Don't Act Like My Woman."

But it's the ballads where Otto really hits a home run with a straight-forward, soul-influenced approach on "For You" where he congratulates an ex-girlfriend on her newfound love. Another ballad "Where Angels Hang Around" is littered with references of Memphis, but it's really about parents taking a child with cancer to the St. Jude's Medical Center. It's a poignant song and probably the one with the most substance on the album.