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Larsen loving a fast-paced, grown-up life on the road

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June 14, 2006

By Brenda Sexton

The Courier-Herald

Blaine Larsen is flying high with his recently-acquired pilot's license, fresh marriage and the release of a second compact disc that hit store shelves Tuesday.

“Rockin' You Tonight” follows hot on the heels of Larsen's CD “Off To Join The World,” which vaulted him into the country music world not long after his graduation from Buckley's White River High School.

In a phone interview given during a recent visit to the area, Larsen said he has no expectations for this album. He hopes it does well, but, “more than that I hope the people that buy it love it. It makes them laugh or it makes them sad. It touches them somehow and they feel they got their money's worth,” Larsen said.

Unlike his first album, which was more or less an independent production that Larsen called “magical,” “Rockin' You Tonight” is a product of BNA Records in Nashville. Larsen said it took nine months of labor and listening to thousands of songs to piece together the “very personal” final product.

“Every song on the record is part of me,” the 20-year-old Larsen said in a press release. “We went through thousands of songs and it was about finding those that sounded like they were tailor-made for me.

“I just love great songs, things that move me,” he continued, “and they could be about anything, so there's a wide variety of subjects. The music should make me feel something, make you want to cry or get up and dance. Thematically, we explored more adult subjects, and that might be the big thing people notice. I was 16 when I did some of the songs on the last album, and a lot has happened since then.”

Indeed, a lot has happened to Larsen in the 18 months since his last CD. A BNA press release calls Larsen, “one of the best-selling new artists of 2005,” and notes he is one of America On Line's ‘21 Under 21,'and states he's the only country artist listed among the who's who of the music world.

Not all of the “a lot has happened since then” in Larsen's life has been attached to his fast-moving career. Larsen fulfilled his longtime dream of becoming a pilot. He got married. His publicity photographs reflect both as he poses with a vintage plane emblazoned with his wife's name.

Add touring with Gretchen Wilson, a few appearances at the Grand Ole Opry and building a home in Nashville to the list and life's good.

“Life is very good,” Larsen said.

And, of course, there's the CD. Larsen co-wrote four of the 12 songs, including the title track “Rockin' You Tonight” and “Lips Of A Bottle,” a duet with Wilson.

Writing credit for “Lips Of A Bottle” also goes to White River High math teacher David Bleam, who has been supporting and encouraging Larsen from the beginning.

“It's always been one of my favorites. I just never found a place for it,” Larsen said. “I wanted to do a duet for this album.”

Larsen said Wilson was his choice for the duet since he and Bleam wrote the song two to three years ago. When he started opening for Wilson on her tour he summoned the nerve to ask her to sing with him. She said yes.

“I loved her voice. It fit both of us so well.”

The pair join country stars Kenny Chesney, Big and Rich and Dierks Bentley in a concert at Qwest Field in Seattle June 24. Fans can also hear Larsen when he headlines the King County Fair in Enumclaw during an 8 p.m. show July 21. Larsen said he's excited about the “hometown gig.”

“I don't get to do a lot. You never get a better crowd,” Larsen said.

The fair and his June 24 concert aren't the only chances Plateau residents have to catch Larsen. He'll be appearing on the KMPS morning show June 23 and performing a 20-minute, in-store acoustic performance June 25 at the Bonney Lake Fred Meyer.

His stop in the Pacific Northwest is one of many. Larsen has been touring with Wilson and promoting the album for a while now.

The album's first single, “I Don't Know What She Said,” broke into the Top 40 on the singles charts recently and has received plenty of local air time.

The album also includes a cover of the 1970s Mac Davis hit, “Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me,” and “Let Alone You,” a song Larsen snagged when George Strait opted not to cut it.

The music on “Rockin' You Tonight” ranges from the tender “I'm In Love With A Married Woman,” to the reflective “At The Gate,” the fun “Spoken Like A Man” and the challenging call-to-action “Someone Is Me.”

“I've grown a lot in the past few years,” Larsen said. “Most people my age don't have a job like this, and I'm grateful for the chance to take on the challenge and the responsibility.

“It's a lot of work, but it's something I wanted to do for a long time,” Larsen said.

Brenda Sexton can be reached at bsexton@courierherald.com.

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