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Buckley teen's debut album about to hit store shelves
By Brenda Sexton, The Courier-Herald
Just as he gets ready to graduate from White River High School, Blaine Larsen's "In My High School" single, music video and debut album by the same name, are taking off.
"It's doing well for us, for our first single," Larsen said in between classes at White River High.
The single "In My High School," which Larsen co-wrote with Nashville, Tenn., veteran Tim Johnson, has been hitting the airwaves of country-western radio stations across the country since its release in February. He was featured in the March 30 Country Weekly magazine. Larsen's debut album, "In My High School," hits store shelves at Wal-Mart and Tower Records June 1. He's scheduled to sign CDs at 1 p.m. June 5 at the Bonney Lake Wal-Mart.
"I've got a lot of things on my plate," Larsen said.
"In My High School" was produced by Rory Lee Feek and Johnson on independent label Giantslayer Records, the way Larsen wanted it. Earlier in the year, Larsen and Sony Records in Nashville amicably split ways.
The Buckley senior didn't forget his roots in his debut. The inside jacket cover for the CD includes an "Entering Buckley" sign, yearbook photographs, pictures of Larsen growing up and plenty of thanks to the entire community for its support through the past few years.
In the credits, Larsen thanks his parents, the classmate who got the whole ball rolling by sending a letter to her distant cousin Feek raving about Larsen, White River teacher David Bleam, who co-wrote "That's Just Me" on the album, and everyone at White River High School and Buckley for the "opportunities I've been afforded..." He thanks "everyone who buys this record and comes to the shows. Without your support, I would not be living my dream. For that I could never repay you."
"It's true," Larsen said. "Those are the people who have supported me forever. I realize I wouldn't be able to do this without the fans."
Larsen, Lee and Johnson have been piecing together the album for nearly two years.
Some of the 10 new songs, although written to appeal to anyone, have local flavor, many because Larsen wrote them. All are sung in Larsen's rich baritone that belies his young age and have traces of the artists he is influenced by - George Strait, Chris LeDoux, Jimmy Buffett, Vince Gill and Merle Haggard.
The album opens with "The Best Man," which Larsen calls his childhood story.
"This song is very special to me because it tells my story exactly," Larsen said. "It hits home every time I sing it because it reminds me of my past. I really am glad that I got to write a song to say thanks to my parents."
The album moves into the title track "In My High School," which he co-wrote with Johnson who is known for country-western hits like "She Misses Him" and "I Let her Lie."
The song selection varies from the serious "How Do You Get That Lonely," written by Feek and Jamie Teachener about suicide, to fun songs including "Yessireebob," written by Larsen, Feek and Kelley Lovelace, about the man whose job is to hold the towel for a swimsuit model.
His cut, "The Man He'll Never Be," is special to Larsen because he not only wrote it, but played all the instruments on the track and recorded it in the shed in the back yard of his Buckley home.
Larsen recently returned from shooting his first music video to go with "In My High School." Plateau fans can look for it on satellite station Great American Country. His label is working on getting it on Country Music Television.
"That would be a big break," Larsen said.
"It was such a big production, more than I imagined, and that was initially shocking to me," Larsen said of the video. "I had quite a lot of fun making this video and I am looking forward to doing it again."
The timing for Larsen is perfect. He has been lining up show dates across the country for after June graduation. Like all graduates, he's also excited he's found himself a job with a publishing company.
"I'm going to get a paycheck for writing songs," he said.
Brenda Sexton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org