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Rising star James Otto at PP on Sunday

  • James Otto
    James Otto
Published April 29. 2010 05:00PM

James Otto has a lot on his plate right now.

He's ready to tour with country sensation Toby Keith this summer. He's riding on the wave of a current single, "Groovy Little Summer Song," that is climbing the charts. And, he's going to be a daddy.

He and his wife Amy are expecting a daughter in August.

Otto, a member of what is called the "MuzikMafia" to which Gretchen Wilson and Big & Rich also belong, will be performing Sunday night at Penn's Peak. The concert begins at 8 o'clock. Tickets are $22 in advance and $27 at the door. Tickets will be available at the door.

The rising star in country music had a number one hit in 2007 with "Just Got Started Lovin' You." His current single is currently in the top 40.

Since the release of his sophomore LP "Sunset Man" in 2008, Otto has earned praise for his skills as vocalist, song writer, and performer.

Last year, he earned a Grammy nomination for Best Male Country Vocal Performance, and for both the ACM's Top New Male Vocalist and the CMA's New Artist of the Year.

A sought-after writer for other artists, Otto earned the Song of the Year awards from both the ACM and CMA with Jamey Johnson and Lee Thomas Miller for Johnson's "In Color" and earned a second Grammy nomination for Best Country Song.

The MuzikMafia, to which Otto boasts membership, is an informal collection of country music artists founded in 2001 in Nashville by Big & Rich with Jon Nicholson and Cory Gierman.

They have been the subject of a six-episode television series on the network Country Music Television entitled "MuzikMafia TV," which followed the Muzik Mafia on their first stadium tour.

MuzikMafia has become known for their "country music without prejudice."

"Groovy Little Summer Song" has gotten Ottomaniacs eagerly anticipating release of his third album, set for later this year.

His previous album, which was "Sunset Man," was produced by John Rich of Big & Rich and Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts. DeMarcus is the brother-in-law of Otto.

Otto was born in July 1973 on the Fort Lewis Army Base in Washington. He took up singing at a young age, then learned to play violin and saxophone. At age 13, he received a guitar for his birthday.

Although his family did a lot of traveling, they settled in Washington. He joined the Navy and then after that, in 1998, he moved to Nashville and joined MuzikMafia.

Otto has in the past opened for such acts as Hank Williams Jr., Alan Jackson, ZZ Top, Trace Adkins, and Brooks & Dunn.

He has been touring solo for the past several months, with the Penn's Peak show being one of three remaining before the Toby Keith tour.

The tour with Otto and Keith kicks off June 20 in Cleveland.

Baseball fans have a connection to Otto. In 2008, he was commissioned to perform a new theme song for the Atlanta Braves entitle "The Braves Play Here," composed by Greg Barnhill and Randy Wachtler.

This is the first appearance of Otto at Penn's Peak.

The concert by James Otto begins at 8 p.m. Sunday. Tickets will be available at the door. The tickets cost $22 in advance and $27 on the day of the show.

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