It was over a year ago when I wrote about The Curious Case of Jake Owen.
It was confusing to me just who Jake Owen was. I couldn’t figure out if he was the rocking country guy that liked to have a good time with the guys or if he was the balladeer that could romance a woman. It turns out Jake could do all of those things, but for some reason he was getting lost in the shuffle of new country acts.
Jake has now moved on to his third album and it seems he’s found his calling in country music. Jake released the single Barefoot Blue Jean Night earlier in 2011 and it became his fastest rising single and mostly recently his very first number one country song. That’s huge and congratulations to Jake.
And a big congrats to his fans as well. They are some of the most vocal and wonderful fans I come across here on CML and it’s great every time they stop by to support their favorite artist.
With the release of the new music it seems Jake is taking his love for summer fun and really putting it on the forefront. It’s becoming more apparent who Jake Owen is. I guess it’s the natural progression for an artist to continue developing their identity as they release more music.
After listening to Jake’s new album, also called Barefoot Blue Jean Night, it’s great to see him finding himself as the young adult that likes to have fun now and then, but likes to spend most of his time settled down focusing on love, work, and life.
Jake Owen is becoming a superstar right before our eyes and the music on his third album is proof enough that he’s sticking around for a while.
Barefoot Blue Jean Night – Jake Owen – Album Review
The big change for Jake on Barefoot Blue Jean Night was giving up writing duties and simply taking the best songs available. The title track was the first time Jake released a single that didn’t have his name on the songwriting credits. The song became a number one hit and Jake’s biggest up to this point in his young career.
Looking deeper into the album it’s interesting to see Jake only had a hand in writing one of the tracks. That’s a big step for a guy that used to write more than 90% of the songs he recorded. Jake’s a great writer, but it takes a big ego check to put your songs aside and take what’s best and as Jake knows it’s going to further his career. It’s something other artists have done over the years and many have turned out to be superstars.
The change has been a good one. The songs on the album are great. Even with all the various writers Jake was able to put together a solid collection that keeps its cohesiveness and makes sense. As I said earlier, Jake finds his identity on this album. He comes through as a young adult moving from the partying days to a more settled lifestyle with a brand new love. It’s charming. It’s sincere and it’s something country fans are obviously loving.
There is still the fun to be had like on the title track. I don’t know a young person in their early thirties that doesn’t love to hit the beach on a summer day. We don’t have kids just yet. We’re still enjoying life on the weekends and throwing on jeans for the night is something we do.
Here are my thoughts on each of the album’s tracks…
1. Anywhere With You
Things get off to a rocking start with Anywhere With You. The song has a classic rock feel, but is also laid back. There’s plenty of country imagery to go around as well. Jake’s been doing that well in his songs. Lots of images to visualize as he sings the song. This track is one of my favorites on the album. I’d love for it to be a single. Jake sings to his baby and tells her that wherever she wants to go he’ll be right there with her. It’s a great song with plenty to love.
2. Keepin’ It Country
Things get really country on this one. The twang is there in Jake’s voice. My initial reaction is this track belongs on a Jason Michael Carroll album. It’s a good song. It’s Jake’s little bow to country. He’s a little more rock and country with a little adult contemporary thrown in. Those are good things. To keep himself in the country side he puts out the song about the good old boys and girls enjoying whiskey in the small towns. It’s a great track with a catchy melody and sing along lyrics. It’s a good song.
3. Wide Awake
Here’s a track that caught me off guard. First, it’s a little into the adult contemporary world. I like that approach for Jake. It separates him. He’s still country with some good twang, but it’s a good niche for him. Second, I really like Wide Awake. Jake is pacing around up late one night. He calls his baby. He can’t stop thinking about her. If you’ve ever been in a new love you know exactly how this feels. You can’t think about anything else except your baby. The chorus on this track is great. I could sing along with all day long. It’s groovy and infectious. There is nothing like this on radio and I’d love to hear it as a single.
4. Barefoot Blue Jean Night
This track is one everybody recognizes. It became Jake’s first number one song. It’s about chilling at the lake on a summer weekend. The cools off a bit so you have to throw on those blue jeans. It’s a great visual song, but what really made it a hit was the melody. It’s catchy and fun and was perfect for the summer nights so many young adults enjoyed in 2011. I see this as a perennial favorite for summers to come.
This song made me happy when it came through the speakers. Last summer Jake played it in his live show in Eau Claire, WI. I was there and really thought the song sounded like a hit. Over a year later Jake was able to keep it on the record and it’s for good reason. The song is really romantic and unique. It’s about Jake taking his girl on a trip to heaven (or just a great date) during the middle of the night. They sneak away and get lost in each other until the sun comes up. What a great way to express love. The only thing is I have to say I like the live version better. Maybe it’s because I got used to listening to it. Now the recorded version doesn’t sound as good. I guess that goes to prove you really become used to a certain recording of any track.
6. Apple Pie Moonshine
Ok. I was thrown off by this title. I thought it was going to be some weird attempt at country humor. I was wrong. The song turns out to be one of my favorites on the album. It’s got a little silliness to it, but it’s charming. Apple Pie Moonshine is catchy and fun. Don’t take it too seriously and you’ll find yourself singing along with the lyrics by the time the song is over. One interesting note about this track is that Chad Kroeger of Nickelback had a hand in co-writing. He’s been dipping his toe in the country world the last few years. This track is about having fun and enjoying new love. Great stuff.
7. The Journey of Your Life
This track is really different from others on the album. It’s a serious story about a guy that’s lived an interesting life. It’s about a grandfather’s life. It’s about how to take some life lessons and make it the best you can. I like the part about having a good dog or really just a good best friend to help you get through both the good and bad times. It’s a good track and one I didn’t expect from Jake. He’s getting really good at finding songs that surprise you, but in a good way.
8. Alone With You
It’s not my favorite track on the record, but it’s still a solid song. I’m sure lots of folks will like this one. It’s about love. The chorus is catchy. It’s a country love song with a great angle – the woman is trying to tell the guy she’s not ready for love. It’s a new love they’re going through and they’re trying to fight off the eagerness to get started.
9. Settin’ The World On Fire
Jake also played this track live last year. Of the two new songs he debuted I liked this one second best, but now I like it just as much as Heaven. Here again we have Jake coming across as the young guy moving on through life with his new love. It’s charming. He feels like he can do anything as long as he’s with his lover. It’s a really neat feeling and one many young adults feel as they try to take on the world.
10. Nobody Feelin’ No Pain
For just one moment Jake goes back to the good timin’ ways with this song. He had to. It gets things revved up and Nobody Feelin’ No Pain is going to play great to the young crowds at his show. There will be plenty of cheering as Jake works the crowd with this one.
11. The One That Got Away
This is a great way to end the record. It’s another one of my favorites and one I could see as a single – at least I hope anyway. It’s got a rocking beat especially when the chorus kicks in. The One That Got Away takes me back to the pop music of the ’80s with people like Don Henley and Richard Marx. There’s plenty to like about the song. The title tells you what the track is about and Jake does a great job of putting his real life behind the story. I’m sure there was one that may have gotten away from him.
Download Barefoot Blue Jean Night Album by Jake Owen
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