I've been patiently (sort of) waiting for the release of his self-titled debut album from the day I heard "Hunt You Down."
And we danced and we laughed never talked about tomorrow / We just lived a little in the here and now / With her hands in my hair like a million magic fingers / She said look me up when you get back to town. / Look you up, I said. Hell, I'm going to hunt you down.
And I did, JT. I was on the hunt for your album today. It wasn't on my beloved Spotify (really?), so I streamed it live on Rhapsody at work and then got on iTunes when I got home. I had to buy it. This is a solid album.
One thing that makes a country artist stand out above the rest is the storytelling. Ask any fan of country music and they'll tell you; you must be a good storyteller. Let me just say, JT conjures up some very interesting characters and even more interesting stories with this finely-crafted album (he wrote or co-wrote 8 of the 10 songs).
He proclaims that he is not the same as all of the others that treated you wrong in "Goodbyes Make You Mine." In "Sleepy Little Town" he sheds the light on mysteries (drug dealing, abuse, and teen pregnancy) hiding underneath the surface. "Give It One More Night" is a toe-tapping number in which he pleads just one more memory before you leave me. He sings about the ex-girlfriend he knows well, and what she's doing now in "Right About Now." And if he's like me it tears him apart when she whispers his name in the dark... I hate him right about now.
The most compelling song is "When I Stop Crying" that features wonderful harmonies by Vince Gill (yes, that Vince Gill) on the chorus. I'm going to turn and face the sun / I'm going to walk until I can run. It's a slow piano ballad about pain being a part of the healing process. This one could be a huge hit.
The last song "Green Eyes Red Sunglasses" is full of swag. It's got a stomping beat and a screaming guitar with plenty of southern rock influences. I dare you to try and get this one out of your head.
It has all of the essential elements: compelling storytelling, catchy lyrics, and sing-along choruses. Fantastic debut album!