REVIEW: Jason Charles Miller – Uncountry
Usually when an artist wants to cross-over and try his hand with country music it doesn’t always go like they planned. Jason Charles Miller, better known as the frontman of Godhead, released his debut country solo album back in October. “Uncountry” is a surprisingly country album that most mainstream fans may not have heard of. Jason embraced his songwriting roots with an album filled with a Kris Kristofferson or a Merle Haggard flavor.
His solo career was launched on HBO’s hit series “True Blood” with his single “You Get What You Pay For” and it’s been on the rise since then. Jason has opened for Toby Keith, Gary Allan, and Eric Church, three artists he could comfortably compare to in the industry today. His classic country influence is obvious on the record, which proves that Los Angeles and Nashville have more in common than people thought.
Jason has one of the most “country” voices this year, which deserves more attention than it’s been getting. “Uncountry” is one of the more pure-country albums of 2011 and it rocks. For fans of Eric Church it’s a must-have. Fans will be surprised at how easily Jason can fit into country music with his rock pedigree. It’s not a spur-of-the-moment venture: he’s been playing country music for quite some time. He co-wrote or wrote every track on the 10-song album. Much like his title track says, there’s nothing uncountry about him.
The album opens with its title track, where he proves that he’s not any different than your average country boy. It’s a great way to prove that this album wasn’t just a random project he put together for fun. It’s a rocker, and one track that both Godhead fans and the average country music listener will enjoy. While there are plenty of countrier-than-thou anthem songs, this is one that stands out.
The second track “The Dotted Line” shows off how country his voice really is. It’s a throwback to the country classics of old, and something that Merle Haggard could have recorded. If there’s any doubt on if Jason can be successful in recording country music, this song should put an end to the doubt.
“Learn To Live With It” is another highlight on the album. Jason gets the chance to really shine on tracks that show off his songwriting. It’s a rich track where he conveys the emotion of the song perfectly, and quickly became one of my favorites on this record.
“The Devil” is one of the stronger songs on the record. It’s an uptempo song with a classic rock flavor, but it works. The second-last song on the album is one not to be missed. Jason proves that he can be country but still use his rock background to his advantage. “The Devil” along with album closer “Drag Me Down” are two of the songs that will keep fans of his band happy, but still gives him country credibility.
In a world where the charts are full of pop-country singles built to earn money instead of quality music, “Uncountry” is a very welcome departure from the usual Nashville mold. It’s a brave step for the singer, who released something different than his Godhead roots. While it might not be the pop-country Nashville is pumping out, it’s nothing to apologize for: it’s a solid, fantastic country album full of great lyrics and creativity that makes it stand out from the usual. It’s a shame that Jason’s talent might not get the mainstream attention he deserves with this record. It’s an album where you need to download as a whole, not just single tracks, to really get the full value and story. For country fans looking for something brand new under the tree this year, Jason’s album might just be the perfect fit.
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