Exert taken from Country Music People
September 2014 Issue
Written By: Duncan Warwick
James Carothers is vocally somewhere between Josh Turner and Jamey Johnson, in other words he has a baritone to die for, and a voice perfectly suited to singing country. According to his website, as a boy his father would force him to listen to Hank Jr. records so much the young James would only answer to the name “Bocephus”. Whether that could be considered some kind of child cruelty would depend on your appreciation of Hank Jr. but there’s no denying that some of it - mostly the rockin’ southern boogie - has rubbed off on Carothers.
I could easily imagine Have Another Round, Mississipi Clay, or She’s Too Crazy being Bocephus numbers, but just like his hero, Carothers is actually much better on material that is either a little more restrained and tuneful like the wonderful Trouble In Paradise on which he really sounds like Jamey Johnson, or the killer, and I mean killer, opening New Country Singers, which is not taking the swipe at some of today’s stars one might expect from the title. Rather, it is the Bro-country utopia of beer, hot chicks, and trucks being from a world alien to his of getting caught cheatin’, and being “banned from all 7-11s” and concludes that the new singers “don’t drink as much as me”. It’s anthemic, fabulous, and you’ll want to sing along on the first listen.
Whilst nothing quite lives up to New Country Singers, the aforementioned Trouble In Paradise is a potentially huge song, and the closing Where Did We Come From? which asks if “we’ve progressed so far that we can’t see” and ponders how things “aren’t what they used to be” is terrific.
With eight tracks, Honky Tonk Land falls somewhere between and EP and a full album but certainly leads me to believe that James Carothers is a singer to be reckoned with. It might rock out a bit too much for some (me included) at times, just as personally I feel that Hank Jr. has always done, but Carothers pulls it off and has one heck of a voice. New Country Singers is so good I’d buy it for that alone.