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Carolyn Dawn Johnson - Dress Rehearsal (Arista Nashville)
CD Review by Cheryl Harvey Hill

Dress Rehearsal brilliantly showcases the remarkable songwriting talents of Carolyn Dawn Johnson. Although she delivers the songs with a voice that reflects a more temperate and practiced artist than we heard on her debut album, it is the powerful lyrics on this album that make it a standout. This is not surprising since, as a prolific songwriter, Johnson has written songs for an impressive list of her musical peers, including Kathy Mattea, Pam Tillis, Mindy McCready, Jo Dee Messina, Lila McCann, Linda Davis, Patty Loveless, as well as "Single White Female," a number one hit for Chely Wright. She wrote every song on her first album and had a hand in writing eleven of the twelve songs on this one.

If "Life As We Know It" is autobiographical, we can safely assume that Johnson is happily married and, for the most part, life is good. On the other hand, "God Doesn't Make Mistakes," is a revealing glimpse of vulnerability that reminds us that everyone, no matter how talented or beautiful, has moments of self doubt. All of the songs on this album illustrate knowledge that is only acquired through personal growth.

There are several melancholy tunes on the album, but they are reflective of an acquired wisdom, not necessarily sadness. They project a positive message from a soul that has learned to appreciate life. Even the most heartrending song on the album, "I'll Let You Go," despite being about saying goodbye to someone who is dying, is actually an affirmation of life and unselfish love.

As a bonus, there are a couple of nice guest appearances; Amy Grant provides the vocal harmony on "Life As We Know It" and the voice that blends so easily with Johnson's on the chorus of "Die Of A Broken Heart," belongs to none other than Keith Urban.

There will be no sophomore jinx for Johnson. With the Dress Rehearsal behind her, you have an artist who is ready for the limelight.

Rating: BUY IT!

Carolyn Dawn Johnson - Dress Rehearsal  track list: 

1) Dress Rehearsal
2) He's Mine
3) Simple Life
4) Die Of A Broken Heart
5) We Talked
6) God Doesn't Make Mistakes
7) Squeezin' The Love Out Of You
8) Head Over High Heels
9) My Little Secret
10) Just Another Plane
11) Life As We Know It (Guest Appearance by Amy Grant)
12) I'll Let You Go

 

Website Review by Jim Weaver: 
CDJ's site is a prime example of what an HTML site can be, with only one very small FLASH file on it! The music is available, but you control when it plays. It's a great looking site with lots to see and do! A couple of things are missing though... there's not a photos page, there are a lot of photos with the news stories though. No Links page. Every artist needs a Links page!
Other than those two items, I have no complaints.

Rating:   Great job!

Fan Rating: 

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