James Otto, “These Are the Good Ole Days”

Attempt #2 to follow up “Just Got Started Lovin’ You” finds Otto eschewing nostalgia to a groovy beat that sounds like something John Mayer might do at his sunniest and most simplified. There’s nothing really “country” here, and the fairly unique theme isn’t quite done justice by the song’s predictable lyrics. But it’s a reasonably enjoyable number anyway, and Otto remains a talent to watch.

Written by Shannon Lawson & James Otto

Grade: B-

Listen: These Are the Good Ole Days

Buy: These Are the Good Ole Days


  1. It is interesting to note that this song is still running up to the juggernaut that is “Just Got Started Loving You,” a song that’s a lock for the top of the Year End charts. It’s still played so much in recurrent airplay that if it were on the charts it’d still be in the Top 25. When “For You” came out Otto had to deal with “Loving.” This one should be at least a Top 20 hit for James.

  2. Matt’s 100% correct. Country radio refuses to let go of its hit songs. I feel he’s running on Ottopilot a little here, but James is talented vocally and I think with a few more songs in his wheelhouse (like “Just Got Started..”), he’ll find himself a nice career.

  3. Although I don’t listen to Pop Country radio, Otto seems better than most. I only check this type of music out by suggestion. I’ve heard his first single from this album once or twice, and just checked this song out. At least it has some groove to it. Nothing I would buy, but he’s better than Chesney and Mcgraw.

  4. Blake,

    Country radio is very quickly becoming like AC. Stations with similar target audiences where people have it on in the background. It’s inoffensive enough to play in offices and as such, the stations will play the same 20 singles over and over again. This is also partially to blame for lame record sales.

  5. Initially, I really liked this album. However, as time has passed, I’ve liked it less and less. I still really like his voice though.

  6. Fair point, Matt. And I really think it’s separating the “haves” and “have-nots,” with superstar acts sometimes recording multiple spins in an hour. In the mid-’90s I remember listening to Casey Kasem who had an AC countdown show. In that format, songs would remain on the chart for the entire year without any “recurrent” rules. With the country charts littered with songs 25-35 weeks old (save for Kenny, Carrie, etc.), new artists have a hard time breaking through, and listeners have a feeling of “been there, done that.”

  7. Blake,

    That’s exactly what ANY radio stations want though: familiarity. They don’t want something that will ‘alienate’ their audience so it’s hard to ‘break through.’ This is why artists like Otto stand a big chance of being remembered as “One Hit Wonders,” which used to be a rarer occurrence on country radio than they are now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.