Like Jesse Sykes, Blaine Larsen is a rootsy country crooner who hails from the near-twangless state of Washington. He picked up an early admiration for country music at the age of five, when his stepfather had him singing along to his country karaoke tape collection. By his 'tweens, Larsen was picking a guitar and writing his own numbers. He entered various high school talent contests and, before he graduated, a trip to Nashville sealed the deal: he was determined to pursue country music full-time. He made good on that early promise and by the age of 15 he recorded his first single in Nashville. Titled "In My High School," it landed him some spins on the radio and a contract that enabled him to record the New Traditional-steeped Off to Join the World. What's most impressive about this young man is his soulful baritone voice. You might expect a teenage country singer to chirp like Billy Gilman, but when Larsen starts to inflect like Waylon Jennings or a young Merle Haggard, it's undeniable that his talent goes beyond the fanfare of mere pop stardom.