Blaine Larsen was still in high school when he flew to Nashville to record his first album, In My High School. The autobiographical title song was a minor hit on the Country chart and introduced Blaine to many fans outside his home state of Washington.
Blaine was only 16 when he landed his first recording deal with Sony Music in Nashville. But, personnel changes at the label led him to ask for a release from that contract. Blaine's producers, songwriter Rory Lee Feek and Tim Johnson, then formed their own label and released In My High School in June of last year.
The album brought Larsen to the attention of BNA Records president Joe Galante, who invited him back to Nashville for a live audition. Blaine was immediately signed to the label, which has just re-released In My High School with the new title Off To Join The World.
Blaine wrote or co-wrote six of the 11 tracks on Off To Join The World. On his 19th birthday last month, the album debuted at Number 14 on Billboard's Country chart.
Larsen says he likes to write songs that tell stories about his own life experiences. Off To Join The World covers his high school years, falling in love, adjusting to a step-parent and teen suicide. He also addresses the hardships of breaking into the Country music business in this track, called "If Merle Would Sing My Song."
Merle Haggard made Blaine Larsen's dream a reality by singing the final two lines of "If Merle Would Sing My Song."
Off To Join The World has received a lot of critical praise. People magazine's review said, "This knockout debut is smartly written and beautifully sung, in a warm baritone reminiscent of his inspirations Merle Haggard and George Strait, every young singer should blend youthful energy and respect for tradition this artfully."
Blaine wrapped up 2004 by making his debut on the Grand Ole Opry. His 2005 plans include promoting his new album with radio and television appearances and a summer concert tour.
One of Blaine's favorite tracks on Off To Join The World is its current single, "How Do You Get That Lonely." He says, "I've always felt that a song like that can really touch people and change their lives." In fact, many teenagers have sent e-mails to Blaine's web site telling him that the song saved their lives. The track's touching video is a first-round finalist for Breakthrough Video of the Year at the upcoming Country Music Television Awards.