by Ross CAT

by Ross CAT

Preview Interview: JAMES OTTO
Special Guest: Underground Stampede & Black Widow
Friday April 30th

     SELF MADE MANÖTo see JAMES OTTO in person one might hope that he would have been a first round draft pick this past weekend at Defensive End by the Buffalo Bills.

     Once the Six foot Five ďSunset ManĒ straps on his Guitar and lets that Mountainous Voice flow itís evident that the Soulful Singer has followed his destiny to become One of Countryís most Prolific Songwriters & Performers.

     While OTTO may have encountered some Road Blocks on his way to Superstardom itís been the driving force behind the music that he creates today.

      Following a stint in the Military OTTO made the decision to pursue his childhood obsession of making Music & headed to Nashville to fulfill that Dream. 

     After some poor Marketing hindered his first release ďDays of Our LivesĒ in 2004, which still managed to chart three songs, the Big Man bounced back with a Vengeance with the 2008 chart busting release ďSunset ManĒ.  

     This time out OTTO applied the Family Values he was raised with & surrounded himself with People he could trust to have his back.  He became part of One of Countryís Music most respected Circles of Musicians the MuzikMafia; a Collection of Artists that includes A-List Performers like BIG & RICH and GRETCHEN WILSON.  Both JOHN RICH & KENNY ALPHIN were major contributors to the success of ďSunset ManĒ; it truly became a Family Affair when OTTOíS Brother-In-Law JAY DeMARCUS co-wrote ďYou Donít Act Like A WomenĒ    

   It been just over a year since the Dynamic Performer Rocked CLUB PARADISE fresh off the heels of sharing the Song of the Year Award & Grammy nomination with JAMEY JOHNSON for ďIn ColorĒ, along with his #1 Hit ďJust Got Started Loviní YouĒ. 

    This time out OTTO is touring with a permanent smile on his face as he & his wife AMY are expecting their first Child.  Look for JAMES to spread some of that Sunshine in PARADISE this Friday with his new hit single in tow ďGroovy Little Summer SongĒ.


Ross CAT-Hello JAMES itís great to speak with again.  The Back II Back Entertainment Group is proud to be bringing you back to Club Paradise this Friday Night.

JAMES OTTO-Thanks so much we really appreciate all the Love that Buffalo has shown us along the way.
     I know itís been a long winter for everyone so the Band is looking forward to coming back to the Club & heating things up a bit with our new single ď
Groovy Little Summer SongĒ.

Ross CAT- Weíve got lots of exciting stuff to cover in the OTTO Zone; first and foremost Congratulations to you & your lovely wife AMY as your expecting your first child, I understand itís going to be a Baby Girl.

JAMES OTTO- It is a Baby Girl and we have decided on the name AVA KATHRYN, we are absolutely thrilled to begin this new & exciting chapter in our lives together.

Ross CAT- In having the pleasure of working with you in the past I know youíre an extremely Family Oriented individual; you especially had a very close relationship with Grandmother which I can relate to.
     Youíve mentioned that not a single day goes by that you donít think about her talk about the impact she had on your life.

JAMES OTTO- Thatís right, when she passed it really took its toll on not just me but my entire family; she truly was the centerpiece of our family and I will forever admire her strength & character.
     The memories that I have of her are with me every day, she finds her way into my songs and continues to influence me on a daily basis even though sheís gone.

Ross CAT- Obviously becoming a Father to a Daughter will change everything in your life, what effect do you think it will have on your songwriting?

JAMES OTTO- Everybody tells me itís going to have a huge effect on me; especially other Artists, they laugh & say, ďyou know all those sappy songs about Love & Daddyís Little Girl thatís gonna be YouĒ, your gonna to be that GuyĒ.

Ross CAT- Now that your bringing a Baby Girl into the world the beautifully stirring story behind the song ďWhere Angels Hang AroundĒ from ďSunset ManĒ I would imagine it becomes even more profound for you to sing?

JAMES OTTO- You hate to think of things in that perspective but Iíve seen so many families have to cope with seeing their children have to fight a battle that no human being should have to endure at any age.
     As an expectant Parent naturally you have concerns for the health of your child it certainly puts a new found fear into your soul.
    Thereís no question the intensity of emotions will be personified when we start playing it live again now that I know Iím going to be a Dad.   Iím still trying to grasp the idea of the bond that AMY & I will share with this wonderful gift.
     I would encourage anyone interested in helping out in anyway possible to try & find a local St. Judeís Hospital Chapter.  They are truly one of the most incredible organizations out there.  They are not just trying to cure Cancer for Children itís through that research that they can find a cure for

Ross CAT- After some trying times with your first record ďDays of Our LivesĒ you surrounded yourself with folks who you know would have your back for the making of the enormously successful ďSunset ManĒ album;  most notably BIG & RICH your Muzik Mafia brethren & your Brother-in-Law JAY.
    Have you tapped into those same resources on the new material which will be released later this summer?

JAMES OTTO- Actually for this record Iíve gone in a completely different direction, Iím producing the record myself along with Paul Worley.
     Paul has been a huge part of my career from my first Record deal at Mercury right up until now.  As you put it heís a guy thatís had my back from the very beginning; heís also someone whose going to allow me to follow my creative process all the way through.
     Iím almost like one of the Old-Timers here in Nashville; Iíve always had a hand in producing my own demos over the past twelve years.  This time around Iím taking a swing at the whole thing, the records just about done & weíre really excited about it.
     For people that Loved
ďSunset ManĒ thereíll be some very familiar elements to these new songs.  This will truly be a Country Soul record, with a ďJust Got Started Loviní YouĒ Vibe with a Soulful kinda Groove to it.

 Ross CAT- Like you I grew up a Rock Ďní Roller never would Iíve imagined myself not only listening to Country Music let alone Promoting it.
  What really caught my attention was the amazing songwriting going on, guys like yourself, Eric Church, Jamey Johnson & Lee Brice.
    The second thing that struck a chord was the tight knit community in Nashville none of that competitive bullshit, talk about what its like being part of a group like the Muzik Mafia

JAMES OTTO- Thatís certainly one of the things that I Love about it too, having People like KENNY & JOHN and my Brother-in Law JAY treat you as if your part of their family is truly a blessing.
     The Guys you mentioned JAMEY & ERIC along with a number of other songwriters Iíve had the pleasure of being around are making fantastic Records.
     It those relationships that really challenge you to make the best Album you can possibly make.  There are some amazing songwriters out there and you want to keep up that pace thereís no room for slackers, that challenge brings such a positive energy when trying to stay creatively focused.
     Iím hoping this new material rates right up there, thereís lots of things on this Record that Iím extremely proud & excited about.  ď
Groovy Little Summer SongĒ is a feel good fun song; another song I just finished writing not too long ago with a good friend of mine Chris Wallin is one of the greatest songs Iíve ever been a part of called ďSoldiers & JesusĒ.  Itís not just a salute to our Military & their sacrifices; itís also a salute to God.
     I never wanted to be one dimensional I want to stretch myself out I want to honor all the aspects of my musical influences, I guess you could classify me as a Music Schizophrenic that way. (Laughter).
     You want to have feel good fun things & stuff you can party to on a Album but you also want people to think & reflect, your gonna get that & then some on this new Record.

Ross CAT- That leads to my next question about your musical Journey to becoming Country Musicís Soul Man.
    I have to say I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed in your liner notes from the ďSunset ManĒ Album that NIKKI SIXX of MOTLEY CRUE co-wrote the lead track ďAinít Gonna StopĒ.
     How did that unusual Musical collaboration come about?

JAMES OTTO- That particular song was brought to the sessions by JOHN RICH; He & NIKKI came up with that groove at a songwriters retreat.
    The funny thing in talkiní about NIKKI SIXX if you go back & listen to the CRUE Records he was the principal songwriter on most of those hit songs.  There all extremely well written whether there an in your face Rock Anthem or takiní a stab at the gritty side of life heís always been an excellent songwriter.
   The way Iíve always approached the Music that I write or listen to is that a good songwriter is a good songwriter no matter what genre.

Ross CAT- I wanted to touch on your live set last Yearís show at PARADISE really had great flow both within your talented Band and throughout the packed house.
    I particularly enjoyed your rendition of BOB SEGERíS ďNight MovesĒ; tell us that song made its way into your set?

JAMES OTTO- Thanks we really try to shake things up in every aspect of our live performances.  Yeah ďNight MovesĒ is a great song Iíve had that in my set for years; Iíll have to think about taking it out soon, Iíve been playing it so long it almost feels like one of mine own.

Ross CAT- A question I like to pose to my Hard Country friends; when it comes time to be part of the Crossroads Concert Series on CMT who would you like to share songs with?

JAMES OTTO- Man that is a great question, there are so many amazing Artists out there that I would be honored to do that with.  Iím not sure if SEGER has done one yet heís one of my biggest musical Heroís.
     Just thinking of people Iíd Love to get up and play even one song with would be CLAPTON or SPRINGSTEEN. 
     I do hope to be able to be part of something special like that in the near future.

Ross CAT- The sizzling new single ďGroovy Little Summer SongĒ has been climbing the charts, what can you tell us about a release date for the new Album and maybe give me a scoop on the Title?

JAMES OTTO- You know Ross I wish I could give you a scoop on that but I donít have a title as of yet.  I will tell you that there are some days Iíve been leaning toward a self-titled release; kind of a declaration of were Iím at with these new songs.
    Like I said my mind changes everyday, until they tell me they need an answer in stone Iím going to keep my options open.  Honestly Iím still turning in songs that might make this record, one thing Iíve learned as a songwriter is that the best song can come at the last second.
     Iíll give you a perfect example, I wrote the song
ďIn ColorĒ about a month after I turned in the Sunset Man Album; Iím writing so many songs these days that the next special song might just come along the day the Record Company calls for the finished product.
    At this stage of my career Iím more of a ďMy Best Song is my Next Song kinda PersonĒ.
     I believe with every song I write I become better at my craft; you live life and hopefully learn a little more each day & you certainly have more to say as you get older.

Ross CAT- You mentioned ďIn ColorĒ with all the accolades that song & ďSunset ManĒ brought you, talk about the expectations that success puts on this new Album?

JAMES OTTO- Awards are great itís a cool thing to experience but ultimately thatís not in your control.  As a writer Iíve already moved on from that and focusing on making the best Record I can make at this time in my life.
    Itís impossible to have perspective on any Album until its done & you have hindsight to look back at it; I look at each Record as a separate body of work.

Ross CAT- Folks are still buzziní about your WYRK Acoustic Appearance a few months back at the University of Buffalo Center for the Arts.
     Your Meet & Greet lines have become that of legend tell us about how important that personal connection is with your fans?

JAMES OTTO- Buffalo has really become one of my favorite places to come & Play I canít tell you how much the support means to us.
   The way the people treat me up there is just amazing & I Love to reciprocate that every chance I get invited to Play.
    The relationship between an Artist & his fans is a special thing that I take to Heart; I enjoy coming up to perform in front of a hard working City like Buffalo who truly appreciate the Music.

Ross CAT- While your songwriting ability is unquestionable; fans havenít truly been to the OTTO ZONE until theyíve witnessed a live performance.
Are there any plans for a Concert DVD to hold fans over in between tour stops?

JAMES OTTO- Why Thank You for those kind words; as it stands right now we donít have any plans for Recording a show; right now the focus is on getting these new songs out to the fans.
    Itís an expensive undertaking and itís not something that I would be willing to cut corners on just to get it out there.
   I definitely get where you coming from there is nothing quite like a live performance & capturing that on film would be a really cool thing.

Ross CAT- Word just came down this past week that youíve been invited on the Road this summer by TOBY KEITH; which will include a stop at Darien Lake in Late August, tell us about what being part of that tour means to you?

JAMES OTTO- This opportunity gives me a chance to come out & Play for fans on a different level.  Let me make this clear a Club Date & an Arena date are as different as Night & Day.
     When going out on an opening slot with such Greats as TOBY & TRACE it gives me the opportunity to learn what it takes to put on that type of production & connect with fans who may not otherwise know what Iím all about.  Iím only going to be on stage for twenty-eight minutes at those shows & my job is to get that crowd riled & ready for TOBY & TRACE, because I respect them Iím taking that job very seriously.
     My CLUB show like youíll see in
PARADISE on Friday is where youíll get the most of me because I have the time to take myself & everyone else in the house through the entire range of emotions that my songs evoke.
     I hope to see all those familiar faces on Friday Night were all stoked & ready to kick some Ass.

Ross CAT- Lastly JAMES, I know youíre a Car & Motorcycle enthusiast whatís your favorite Bike to jump on when you get off the road from a long tour?

JAMES OTTO- This is a great story, I could never afford a Harley before ďJust Got Started Loviní YouĒ took off.  A few years back my Wife surprised me with a beautiful 2008 Road Glide for our Anniversary.
      In fact we were at a Steak House for Dinner celebrating when I walked over to talk to a friend at another table.  While I was away she called my bud Ricky Kelly who owns Harley Davidson of Columbia in Tennessee & told him if you can have that Road Glide delivered to the tour bus by midnight Iíll take it, sure enough there it was.
     I built a trailer to take it on the road with me not too long after that; I think I put 6000 miles on it last year.
     Riding is my getaway it really gives you an unparalleled sense of Mental & Physical Freedom.

     The Rock Rapport would like to Thank JAMES OTTO for his valuable time along with Megan Wilson & Dan Anderson of Redlight Management for hooking us up.   

     Be sure to click on to for all that is revviní in the OTTO ZONE

     Tickets for the Show are available at, All Tops Locations as well as Club Paradise & Tickets are also available 24/7 at the McKinley Hotel Lobby.   

     Doors open at 7pm, Support Acts for the show will be Underground Stampede & Black Widow.

*****************PEACE & HARMONIES**********************

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