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NEW ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: JJ Lawhorn


NEW ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: JJ Lawhorn

By
Bob Doerschuk

© 2013 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.

Many artists
draw from their background, but the music of 19-year-old JJ Lawhorn goes deeper,
to embody the sights and sounds, aromas and soul, of rural America.

Raised
on his family’s Virginia farm, he never dreamed of knocking on doors up and
down Music Row. His plan was to study agriculture at Virginia Tech and devote
his life to farming. Then, in the spring of 2010, producer Jeremy Stover came
across a Lawhorn performance on YouTube. He tracked the young artist down; within
a year, Lawhorn had signed with EMI Publishing and, in June 2011, to Average Joes Entertainment.

Produced
by Stover and released on July 16, the 13 tracks of
Original Good Ol’ Boy
sound the way hay smells and the world looks from the bed of a pickup truck.
Lawhorn wrote three of these songs alone and co-wrote the rest, investing each
one with the kind of authenticity you can’t conjure in the studio. Some of this
stems from his delivery: He drawls “count” as two syllables and nearly stretches
“around” to three on his solo-written single “Stomping Grounds.”

And his
lyrics are extraordinarily evocative, often beginning with a snapshot-like picture:
“Red clay mud caked up on the door” brings us close to the vehicle and its
no-nonsense driver on “You Can Tell a Man by His Truck” (written by Lawhorn,
Stover and Ben Hayslip).

Ultimately, it’s the whole package — the rough-edged
music, the painterly words and Lawhorn’s conviction — that makes this a most auspicious debut.

IN
HIS OWN WORDS

DREAM DUET PARTNER

“Alison
Krauss or Chris Stapleton.”

SONG YOU WISH YOU’D WRITTEN

“‘Silver
Wings,’ by Merle Haggard.”

TITLE OF YOUR AUTOBIOGRAPHY

The Road Less Traveled.

YOUR
GREATEST CHALLENGE

“The only challenge I have is to be all that I can be.”

LUCKY CHARM

“I don’t
believe in luck. I believe in God’s plan for my life.”

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