Jana Kramer insists she has a Michigan accent, especially when she says “Oh, geez!” True, she does hail from Rochester Hills, north of the Motor City. But when she sings Country, she sounds like someone who’s right at home drawling “y’all.”
Just listen to “Why Ya Wanna,” from her self-titled debut album, scheduled to release June 5 on Elektra Nashville. Written by Catt Gravitt, Christopher Destefano and Ashley Gorley, it’s a tricky number in some ways, with a catchy swaying beat that contrasts with heartbreak lyrics. Yet Kramer finds the pocket between these two qualities, never losing hold of or overselling the melody. There’s a conversational element to her vocal, with dropped “g”s and artfully shaded vowels; listening, it feels like she’s both commanding the stage and sharing her thoughts with a best friend.
We hear this same believability in the dance-friendly “What I Love about Your Love” (Brian Dean Maher, Skip Black and Laura Veltz). This time Kramer delivers a playful rumination on romance (“It puts the ‘hon’ in my honey”) as the band locks onto a medium-tempo groove. And here, too, her sunny, intimate spell feels much more Tennessee Titans than Detroit Lions.
Actually, none of this is surprising. Kramer was raised on a musical diet of Patsy Cline, which she listened to while baking cookies with her grandmother. And she knows how to get into a lyric. As Alex Dupre on The CW’s “One Tree Hill,” and on previous appearances in NBC’s “Friday Night lights,” HBO’s “Entourage” and The CW’s “90210,” Kramer has applied her acting skills to tap the essence of her role.
Does she do the same through her music? As folks back home might answer, “Yeah, you bet’cha.”
IN HER OWN WORDS
DREAM DUET PARTNER
“Johnny Cash, but since that can’t happen, I’d say Adam Levine.”
SONG YOU’D LOVE TO COVER
“‘Strawberry Wine,’ by Matraca Berg.”
SONG YOU SING IN THE SHOWER
“Anything and everything, from Gaga to opera.”
BOOK ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND
“Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young.”
FAVORITE FOOD ON THE ROAD
“My favorite food is sushi. If I can’t find that, then I’ll try to have salmon.”
FAVORITE MODE OF TRANSPORTATION
“Jet ski, then boat, then car.”
“It was a train wreck! I was so nervous and bombed big time. The bright side: Up was the only way to go from there ;).”
SOMETHING WE’D NEVER GUESS ABOUT YOU
“I speak German. Sprechen sie Deutsch?”
On the Web: www.JanaKramer.com
On Twitter: @KramerGirl
By Bob Doerschuk
© 2012 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.