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JT Hodges

I’ve never been a cautious man, JT sings on his debut album. With his muscular and versatile voice, he can afford to take a few (musical) risks.

Judging by the title, “Sleepy Little Town” would seem to be the latest in a line of country songs extolling rural life; instead, JT reveals the less-than-idyllic situations often hidden behind a picturesque setting, including a high-achieving student whose private school dreams are derailed by pregnancy, and a seemingly perfect pastor’s wife who takes revenge on her presumably abusive husband.

He effortlessly bounces from catchy country-pop on “Give It One More Night” to soulful piano balladry on “When I Stop Crying,” but JT is at his best on tunes that display a sexy swagger such as “Green Eyes, Red Sunglasses” and “Rather Be Wrong Than Lonely.”

The jack-of-all-styles musician does justice to an array of musical influences on this collection, resulting in one of the freshest debut projects from a country newcomer since the arrival of such multitalented acts as Zac Brown Band and Sugarland.

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