James Otto – “Groovy Little Summer Song”

Karlie Justus Marlowe | March 12th, 2010

james-otto-groovySongwriters: James Otto, Carson Chamberlain and Al Anderson.

Like blistering sunburns caused by prolonged exposure to the long, hot days of summer, country songs that celebrate the season of fun in the sun can quickly become over-baked and painful. James Otto’s new single “Groovy Little Summer Song,” however, breaks through the pack and delivers a self-aware, laid-back tune just as enjoyable as an SPF-covered day at the beach.

The song finds Otto comfortably in the pocket, showcasing the same smooth delivery exhibited on breakout hit “Just Got Started Loving You.” When he implores the DJ to “Play something sexy/Make her fall in love with me,” it’s easy to imagine the singer following through on his end of the deal.

Coming out of a brutal chill that left snow on the ground in every state across the country except Hawaii, “Groovy Little Summer Song” practically salivates over summer’s much-anticipated answer to blizzards and snow boots: “When the days stop gettin’ warm /And the sun starts sinkin’ lower/Weekends go by faster and beer stops tasting colder/Wanna tune into a station that takes me on a soul vacation.”

The song’s singer, who walks the “country soul” talk that Danny Gokey has hyped as of late, complements the tune’s a-few-beers-in flavor with well-placed ending falsetto notes reminiscent of Alabama’s “Dancin’, Shaggin’ on the Boulevard.” In a sea of artists trying to force a square peg into a round hole, Otto’s special brand of cool is refreshingly authentic.

Otto has struggled to channel any momentum on his last three singles “For You,” “These Are the Good Old Days” and “Since You Brought It Up.” Songs such as “Groovy Little Summer Song” and “Just Got Started Loving You” obviously come natural to the singer; however, if Otto has any hopes of sustaining a career, he’ll have to find a way to channel his brand of country music into songs that don’t solely rely on his sexual charisma.

On top of the appeal that stems from a summer song not forced on country radio by Kenny Chesney and Co., “Groovy Little Summer Song” is a definitive example of what its title describes. After a long, cold winter, bring it on.

Thumbs Up

  1. Thomas
    March 12, 2010 at 7:57 am

    …actually i quite like the idea that country music would embrace an artist that seems to be at his best when looking at the world from a lying-in-bed or getting there kind of angle. james otto has exactly the voice and style to pull off that sort of thing. this one is, indeed, a groovy little summer song.

  2. Ottomaniac
    March 12, 2010 at 8:24 am

    One note I will make is that Otto began the “country soul” walk many years ago. My friend and I have followed & promoted his career since 2003 and do feel Gokey is trying to talk the walk by following/imitating Otto in this. No one does COUNTRY SOUL better than OTTO….so I agree with “Thomas'” point of view…..Groove on Otto!

  3. James Otto Sweet Heart
    March 12, 2010 at 9:25 am

    I love James SO much!!! (big smile)

    God bless you and him always!!!

    Holly in East Tennessee

  4. Rick
    March 12, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Wow, the crazed fangurls and fanboyz found this one quick! (lol)

    James has one of the best voices in contemporary country music and its nice to hear him put it to good use on this song. Sadly once radio starts ignoring a newer artist’s singles its hard for them to regain momentum. Let’s hope this song is an exception to the AirHead Radio rule…

  5. Matt B.
    March 12, 2010 at 4:05 pm


    James (or his label) tweeted the review.

  6. Michelle
    March 12, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    I like Jame Otto alot! Just Got Started Loving You is HOT!!! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!

  7. Noeller
    March 12, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    I was really disappointed that “For You” didn’t resonate more with listeners, ’cause I always felt that was one of the strongest tracks on the disc, and I definitely dug it more than “…Lovin’ You”. Very powerful tune.

    As for the new one, it’s not bad, and in the hands of a lesser vocalist, probably wouldn’t garner much of a reaction. It’s Otto’s deep baritone that really carries the lyric and he knocks this one to the warning track, if not outta the park.

  8. Jesse
    March 13, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Kind of liking that one. Also enjoying Danny Gokey’s CD, nice to see more artists in this niche along with other types of traditional and more modern country music that I enjoy.

  9. Wink
    March 18, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    I had the opportunity to work with James Otto and Shannon Lawson in Sturgis several years ago. They put on a good show. They were easy to work with and were happy to be bringing their music to the people.

  10. Chef Ree
    June 9, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Big Fan of James! Met in Hagerstown at Cancun West! Groovy Little Summer Song was just what I needed to start the summer! Ever need a personal chef just a email away!

  11. grumpiestoldman
    August 19, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    He looks like a caveman, but I love this song.

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