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Off to Join the World

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Looking at the cover of Blaine Larsen's 2005 major-label debut Off to Join the World -- which is a reconfigured version of his first album, In My High School, released on an indie about six months before Off -- it's easy to think that the youthful, clean-cut singer is about 14-years-old, a cloying novelty along the lines of Billy Gilman. First impressions are often misleading, as the music on this lean 11-track album makes clear. Larsen possesses a rich, full baritone reminiscent of his idol George Strait -- a sound that sure shouldn't be coming from a kid who looks like he's yet to learn how to shave. Preternaturally gifted youngsters are not uncommon in ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Looking at the cover of Blaine Larsen's 2005 major-label debut Off to Join the World -- which is a reconfigured version of his first album, In My High School, released on an indie about six months before Off -- it's easy to think that the youthful, clean-cut singer is about 14-years-old, a cloying novelty along the lines of Billy Gilman. First impressions are often misleading, as the music on this lean 11-track album makes clear. Larsen possesses a rich, full baritone reminiscent of his idol George Strait -- a sound that sure shouldn't be coming from a kid who looks like he's yet to learn how to shave. Preternaturally gifted youngsters are not uncommon in country music -- for instance, LeAnn Rimes came storming on to the scene at the age of 14, sounding like a dead ringer for Patsy Cline, and Tanya Tucker started her career when she was 13 -- but often the raw talent isn't yet supported by technique. That's not the case with Larsen. He knows how to deliver a song, whether it's ramping up the sentiment or slyly tossing off a punchline, which is something that does not come easily to young singers, as any regular viewer of American Idol can attest. Larsen not only has that technique down, but he has excellent taste, sticking to the straight-ahead neo-traditionalist country that made Strait a star, writing and picking hooky, memorable songs. Some of these tunes have more than their fair share of country corn, but they're so unapologetic and spirited, they're quite charming, as is the whole of Off to Join the World. Blaine Larsen may not have quite yet broken free of his influences on this debut, but he sounds as if he's absorbed their lessons, beginning to turn what he's learned from Strait, Alan Jackson and Merle Haggard into something of his own, both as a vocalist and a fledgling songwriter he's penned just over half of the songs here, and there's not a bad tune in the bunch. In the process, he's delivered a terrific debut album, one that qualifies as a totally unexpected and wholly enjoyable surprise.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/25/2005
  • Label: Sony Mod - Afw Line
  • UPC: 828766601220
  • Catalog Number: 66012
  • Sales rank: 146,514

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Blaine Larsen Primary Artist, Guitar, Vocals
Rob Crosby Vocal Harmony
Merle Haggard Vocals
Paul Overstreet Vocals, Vocal Harmony
Eddie Bayers Drums
Bruce Bouton Steel Guitar
Spady Brannan Bass, Bass Guitar
J.T. Corenflos Electric Guitar
Stuart Duncan Fiddle, Mandolin
Larry Franklin Fiddle, Mandolin
Tony Harrell Electric Guitar
Chris Leuzinger Electric Guitar
B. James Lowry Acoustic Guitar
Jerry McPherson Electric Guitar
Russ Pahl Dobro
Danny Parks Electric Guitar
Michael Rhodes Bass, Bass Guitar
Jonathan Yudkin Fiddle, Mandolin
Michael Spriggs Acoustic Guitar
Jimmy Nichols Piano, Background Vocals
Joey Martin Vocals, Background Vocals
Tommy Harden Drums
Sean Patrick McGraw Background Vocals
Pete Hutlinger Acoustic Guitar
Mike Johnson Steel Guitar
Technical Credits
Rob Crosby Composer
Skip Ewing Composer
Paul Overstreet Composer
Shawn Camp Composer
Bill Decker Engineer
Tony Green Engineer
S. Wade Hunt Art Direction
Kelley Lovelace Composer
Bill McDermott Engineer
Dan Shike Mastering
Blaine Larsen Composer, Instrumentation
Clint Higham Management
Michael Betterton Management
James Dean Hicks Composer
Rory Feek Audio Production
Jamie Teachenor Composer
Tim Johnson Audio Production
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Outstanding

    He has the best voice of all the country singers, I think. His cd is wonderful. The songs are great. Blaine Larsen is now my favorite country singer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    not a country fan but...

    When a friend of mine tried to kill herself one of my country friends gave me the song "How do you get that lonely" and i cried. This is the most hearted song i have heard in country in a long time. It made me come back to it for a little while.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Accomplished debut from 18-year-old country music newcomer

    Larsen is unusual in a number of ways. First, he’s one of a very few Nashville country stars to hail from Washington state (Seattle-born session player Mark O’Connor is the other one that comes to mind). Second, despite his slight years (just 18 at the time that most of these tracks were recorded) and baby face, you’d be hard-pressed to call him a child star. In particular, his baritone voice has a surprisingly fetching honky-tonk edge, and his songs (both his own, and those he corralled) are quite sophisticated. Larsen leaves the gate with the same sort of jaw-dropping maturity offered by LeAnn Rimes on “Blue.” ¶ The album’s treasure is a reading of Mark Sanders and Shawn Camp’s “Off to Join the World (The Circus Song).” This whimsically tragic waltz features acoustic guitars and mandolin, supplemented by march-styled drumming and the occasional ringmaster’s whistle. Larsen sings with a depth that belies the relatively few times his heart could have been broken in his first 18 years. Throughout the album his age provides an interesting dichotomy – on the one hand, he hasn’t yet lived through all of these emotions, on the other, as an adolescent he’s bound to feel things more fully and immediately than most adults. ¶ Several songs play off of Larsen’s adolescence, exploring a teenager’s contemplation of a first kiss, step-fathers, peer groups, and another teen’s suicide. Sung in such a burnished first-person voice, they transcend their teenage viewpoint. Larsen has the easy confidence of George Strait but with a tone and edginess that takes in Randy Travis, Clint Black, and Alan Jackson. The album is polished, but surprisingly rootsy for a Nashville production, with plenty of guitar, mandolin, steel and fiddle. This reissue of 2004’s “In My High School” adds one track (“That’s All I’ve Got To Say About That”) to the original 10. ¶ Whether or not Larsen can sustain a career is more of an issue for the winds of industry than his innate talent. At least he won’t have to make the awkward transition from child-voiced prodigy to full-throated adult, as he’s already got the latter nailed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Off to Join the World

    He is just incredible. He sounds just like George Strait. But that's not a bad thing. "How do you get that Lonely" and "The Best Man" are my favorite. It also helps that he is so HOT too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Off to Join the World

    He is a really good singer. I love How Do You Get That Lonely. It's so sad. He is really hot too.

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews