The latest in the Canadian Country Spotlight is neo-traditionalist out of Pembroke, Ontario, Jason Blaine. Jason Blaine seamlessly blends more contemporary sounds with traditional country elements, with fiddle and steel guitar both being prominent on many of his recordings. Blaine’s vocals are somewhat reminiscent of a higher pitched Charles Kelley or a less deep throated Billy Currington, with the Brad Paisley family man, good guy charisma. Between the solid vocals, pleasant sound and memorable melodies, Blaine’s music goes down easy and has a low burn rate. Here are five of Mr. Blaine’s finest efforts:
“They Don’t Make ‘Em Like That Anymore” (from Life so Far)
Far and away the best ever Jason Blaine recording, and one of my all-time favorite country songs, “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like That Anymore” is an absolute gem. The production is firmly planted in the country genre with the steel guitar and violin on full display, the melody is gentle but not plodding, and Blaine delivers a beautiful soft-spoken performance. The type that make even the simplest of songs seem emotional, not that it’s not a strong lyric. It’s lyrically reminiscent of Alan Jackson’s wonderful “Small Town Southern Man,” with the man in question leading a simple life in a tight knit community. but it’s the little details that really lift it to that elite tier though. Little things like only paying in cash and knowing everyone by name at the local hardware store that give it that touch of authenticity that seldom mainstream offerings are able to convey. It’s a tear jerker to be sure, especially when Blaine sings “I’m still looking up to him like he’s ten feet tall.” Oh man, that line gets me every time. “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like That Anymore” is country music and storytelling at its absolute finest. Bros, take notes, this is how you do it. Classic.
“Good Ol’ Nights” (from Everything I Love)
Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. At first glance you may dismiss this track as being nothing more than another generic, sterile party jam, the type that have become so repetitive and obnoxious that it fills you with rage every time you hear one. Not the case. “Good Ol’ Nights” is actually a very solid nostalgic tune. The narrator is looking back on his care free teenage years, and realizing that while he may have had some good days throughout that time period, it was the good times they spent together once the sun went down that they truly enjoyed the most. The performance is so charismatic that you’ll find yourself sub-consciously nodding your head and singing along. Unlike most feel-good songs which fade into the land of forgotten songs about a month or so after peaking, “Good Ol’ Nights” is a truly enjoyable and memorable package.
“My First Car” (from Make My Move)
“My First Car” is a story song about a first car, and the role it can play in ones life. It’s similar to Chase Rice’s surprisingly solid “Look At My Truck”, but unlike Rice’s tune which is somewhat held back by a cheap production job, “My First Car” is laced with fiddle and steel guitar giving it a distinctive country sound. Blaine sounds good, as per usual and the lyric feels genuine and sentimental as opposed to a disguise for another truck song. “My First Car” is a solid, heartfelt track that is definitely worth a listen.
“Watchin’ The World Go Round” (from Life So Far)
Sometimes you just need to slow life down and enjoy it, and that’s exactly the message behind “Watchin’ The World Go Round”. The song opens with an adrenaline filled guitar intro, reminiscent of Billy Currington’s #1 hit “We Are Tonight”, and only gets better from there. You get the feeling that the narrator legitimately likes spending time with the woman in question, as opposed to simply enjoying looking at her body, a refreshing change. The production and melody flow well and the pulsing energy caps off a fantastic feel good tune.
“Tears on a Bible” (from Everything I Love)
Perhaps the runner up in terms of quality, “Tears on a Bible” is a great country song. “Tears on a Bible” shows off the vulnerable side of Blaine’s discography, the song being built around the statement that tears on a bible are as real as you can get. Different examples are listed, such as a mother dreading her son going to war or a man in jail. It’s a stunningly real song, and while the production is maybe a bit heavy handed, everything else makes up for it and then some. “Tears on a Bible” is also a brilliant showcase for Blaine’s wonderful storytelling ability. Does it reach the lever of “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like That Anymore”? No, but it’s as close as you’re gonna get. Absolutely brilliant.