Jana Kramer — “Why You Wanna”

Sam Gazdziak | February 2nd, 2012

Photo by Jason MerrittFor those who haven’t paid attention to 90210 or One Tree Hill, Jana Kramer is an actress, but she says that her heart has always been in music. Ordinarily, that should raise an immediate red flag, because the music industry gets inundated regularly by actors who want to be singers. For every Jeff Bridges album that’s listenable and likable, there are dozens of bland, disposable pop records, most of which come courtesy of Disney’s actor/singer automatons.

Kramer, though, manages to rise above the bland, prefab music of her contemporaries with her debut single, “Why Ya Wanna.” For one, it actually sounds like she’s listened to country music before stepping into the studio – her bio hones in on the fact that she grew up in Michigan listening to Patsy Cline with her grandmother. “Why Ya Wanna” isn’t exactly ripped from the Cline songbook, but it is loaded with fiddle and steel and wouldn’t sound out of place on a Lee Ann Womack album. What’s more, it tackles actual emotions – and negative emotions at that – instead of the expected Southern living ode or feel-good anthem.

“Why Ya Wanna,” despite the silly title, has some emotional depth to it, as the singer describes her inability to get over someone who is clearly over her. The rapid-fire chorus doesn’t hit home as well as the detailed verses, but it doesn’t detract from the song as a whole. Kramer has a twang in her voice that’s reminiscent of Sunny Sweeney or Ashton Shepherd. It’s not the kind of accent that you typically hear from Detroit natives, but she uses it well, wherever she got it.

Kramer signed a record deal with Warner Bros. last year, and a couple of songs have been released digitally. It’s an admittedly small sample size, but with so much of country music leaning toward pop or Southern rock, it’s encouraging to hear a new singer with a more traditional sound. While she is currently an actress who also sings, Kramer certainly has the ability to make the transformation into a singer who also acts.

Thumbs Up

  1. Jon
    February 2, 2012 at 9:55 am

    ” her bio hones in on…” Uh, you know that ain’t right, right? “HoMes in on” would be right…

  2. Jon
    February 2, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Content of the review is pretty much right, though – Kramer’s a pretty fair sanger, and a pretty fair actor, too, for that matter…

  3. Rick
    February 2, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    This gal actually has some real musical talent and is definitely more than just a pretty face. I’d much rather Jana succeed at Airhead Country Radio than say The Jane Dear Girls….

  4. Ben Foster
    February 3, 2012 at 9:35 am

    For every Jeff Bridges album that’s listenable and likable, there are dozens of bland, disposable pop records, most of which come courtesy of Disney’s actor/singer automatons.

    I might have to steal that whenever I get to review Demi Lovato Gone Country ;)

  5. Keith
    February 5, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Thanks for introducing me to her music! I like this song, but I like her song Whiskey even better. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiyvukE0f9g&feature=relmfu)

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