Country newcomer JT Hodges makes quite an impression on his debut album. He’s got a good mix of slow songs and upbeat tunes that puts a new spin on some old themes. All led with his hint-off-rasp voice. It’s a voice that is best when showcased singing the slower tunes on his debut album. Unfortunately, it is this same rasp in his voice that is to the detriment of the more flashy songs.
‘When I Stop Crying’ is the best example of where Hodges hits it right. This slow getting-over-a-heartache ballad allows Hodges voice to really soar. ‘Rhythm of the Radio’ is another example of a song where Hodges’s voice and tune fit together well. This slightly beach feeling song brings some new rhythm to the buckle polisher genre. Where the fit is not so good is ‘Rather be Wrong than Lonely.’ Though I love the idea of a rockin’ tune about being with someone that’s bad for you, Hodges voice is just a little too rough for this type of song. ‘Goodbyes Made You Mine’ serves his voice a little bit better; mainly because the verses are spoken, but the chorus suffers from the same emery board edge as ‘Lonely.’ Where this edge serves the song well is most apparent in ‘Green Eyes and Red Sunglasses.’ This blues infused swing-dance tune was made for the kind of voice that Hodges has. ‘Leaving me Later’ also works well for with his voice. It’s a bit more up tempo, but not as hard-driving as ‘Goodbyes.’
Another thing notable about Hodges is his looks. He’s got album cover musician looks; a baby face and a man’s scuff. His got a thick head of hair piled up on top of his head that just begs for you to tangle up you fingers in it while you look into those bore-right-into ya blue eyes. He looks like he stepped out of a 50s music variety show. There aren’t many men that I would say are good-looking enough that I would just be content to stare at them on stage; who could sing the theme to The Beverly Hillbillies and I’d be happy to eye them over as they crooned, but Hodges fits this bill. His CD booklet doesn’t disappoint. It’s worth getting just for the below picture alone. Boy Howdy!
Hodges is an artist to watch (and not just because he’s so dang good-looking). He brings a style of music to country that can have a much broader appeal. One that will impress those who like a lot less pop in their country, while not turning off those that do. He’s got the potential to be a real hit maker. I expect that if he is able to find good matches for his voice as he does with ‘Sunglasses’ that Hodges will be burning up the charts for some time to come. I will definitely look forward to seeing this handsome man sticking around.