James Otto finally broke through in late 2007-early 2008 with the slow-burning "Just Got Started Lovin' You," which became not only his first Number One but also the Number One country song of the year. Three more singles — "For You," "These Are the Good Ole Days" and "Since You Brought It Up" — all whiffed for some strange reason. Whatever it is that has kept James from revisiting the Top 10, it isn't for lack of quality or talent.
"Groovy Little Summer Song" certainly lives up to its title. While there a couple of rather unoriginal lyrical tricks (rhyming "sing along" with "song" has been done countless times), they're paired with a sultry and, well, groovy melody and production. The guitars are strong and uncompressed, particularly on the smoking solo before the last chorus, and a few Hammond organ and Wurlitzer electric piano licks only emphasize the groovy feel. Even better is Otto's passionate voice, which finds that perfect level of sexual playfulness that few outside Conway Twitty have been able to find. There is a slight hint, both sonically and lyrically, of James' earlier hits "Just Got Started Lovin' You" and "Since You Brought It Up," but in no way does it feel derivative.
As Kid Rock, Kenny Chesney and Clint Black can tell you, summer songs are pretty much guaranteed to be big hits. "Groovy Little Summer Song" should be no exception to the rule, not just because it's a "summer" song, but because it's a very well-executed one. It's also refreshing to see that he is maintain his sound and image without pandering to the masses for a desperate bid at airplay.