Black Music Matters Festival

Carolyn Dawn Johnson

Room With A View – 2001 (Arista)

Reviewed by Rick Teverbaugh

CDs by Carolyn Dawn Johnson

Carolyn Dawn Johnson might have written about being "Just Another Girl" on her debut, but this Canadian performer is certainly more than just another pretty face on the contemporary country scene. Johnson was previously best known for penning Chely Wright's "Single White Female." But now she's had success as a singer as with "Complicated."

There is much to like. Her voice is expressive and versatile. Her writing has the ability to take situations and feelings and boil them down to the essentials that make a difference in everyday life. "Just Another Girl" deals with the finality of lovelost while "You Are" opens her up with total devotion and complete abandon to her lover. She obviously has lived quite a bit in her not quite 30 years. Lived enough to avoid being na+ve, but open minded enough to not be jaded.

She gets a lot of help with Martina McBride (Johnson has sang back-up for McBride), Marty Stuart, Kim Carnes and Matraca Berg lending voices and instruments. But in the end Johnson can and does hold up both ends very nicely, singer and songwriter.