Liner Note Author: Ian McFarlane.
Raven's 2012 two-fer combines 1985's ...Say When and its 1986 sequel Rose of My Heart, the two albums where the country-rock singer signed to MCA and dove headfirst into contemporary country. The bright, punchy sound is far removed from the lush, hazy SoCal soft rock of her five albums with Warner, and it's right in line with the crisp sound coming out of Nashville in the mid-'80s. Appropriately enough, ...Say When was produced by MCA Nashville president Tony Brown and Emory Gordy, Jr., who took pains to make sure it sounded crisp, propulsive, and poppy -- which it did, apart from a pair of closing ballads that could've slipped onto one of her Laurel Canyon records. None of the three singles -- "When You Get a Little Lonely," "Only Love Will Make It Right," "Building Bridges" -- did much on the country charts but the record stands as a strong slice of Reagan-era commercial country. The same can be said of Rose of My Heart, which actually did have a hit in the form of "That's How You Know When Love's Right," which went to number nine possibly on the strength of duet partner Steve Wariner. His presence suggests how the record is ever so slightly rootsier than its predecessor, containing a gospel number in "As an Eagle Stirreth Her Nest," a bit of a hoedown on "Captured by Love," and an excellent honky tonk ballad closer in "You're Running Wild." Larson's heart still seems to lie in California, but that pull between mellow vibes and precision-tuned Nashville turns Rose of My Heart into a winning little record. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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