Jake Owen - Easy Does It
By: Matt Bjorke
There's a charming likeability to Jake Owen. While he's handsome enough to 'serenade' the women, he still seems laid-back and cool enough for those ladies’ guys to want to hang out with him. It’s a similar charm that has worked quite well for Dierks Bentley and is it ever apparent on Jake's sophomore release Easy Does It. The album’s lead-off track is “Tell Me” and immediately the song draws you in with a smoky, 50’s rock vibe that expertly frames Owen’s baritone as he sings a haunting lyric about why a dude can’t let go of the past. It’s a song that works well and will remind some of Gary Allan’s “Smoke Rings In The Dark.”
The album's title track, “Easy Does It” showcases Owen's view on life; that is to take your time, enjoy every moment and live a relaxed life instead of living a hurried, rushed lifestyle. In other words, something country folks can relate to. Written by Owen with Jason Matthews and producer Jimmy Ritchey, the melody is in a groovy Vince Gill-ish style that also cannot ever be mistaken for a pop song as the steel guitar is very ‘front and center’ in the mix. Written with Rob Hatch and Jimmy Ritchey, “Who Said Whiskey (Was Meant To Drive Women Away)” is a fun song that will fill Jake’s concert set list and it has a little bit of a Dierks Bentley-vibe goin’ for it while “Anything For You,” with it’s haunting melody, will have you thinking and listening to the story-telling lyric.
“Green Bananas” may sound like something off of a Kenny Chesney or Darryl Worley record but that doesn’t stop it from being an interesting song. Lyrically, the song finds Jake singing about absolutes in life and how he’s best off living life in the here and now rather than living for the future. Easy Does It ends with the Jamey Johnson, Dallas Davidson and Rhett Akins co-write “Nothing Grows In Shadows” and what a great song to end the album with. This is a song for those who were picked on by others or have bullies in their lives. It simply says that we have to let children to shine and be who they are, despite what anyone else says. While some will call the song “heavy-handed” it really has a story that is relatable and it has the feeling of something that has the makings of a career song for Jake Owen.
While Easy Does It doesn’t veer far from the formula of that was set up by Owen and Ritchey on Jake’s debut Startin’ With Me, the album is still well put together. With proper single selections, Easy Does It can and should be a breakthrough album for Jake Owen.