Audio Mixer: Barry Weeks.
Recording information: BNR PRO, Thompson Station, TN; Superphonic, Nashville, TN.
Only You, the debut from Nashville, Tennessee-based, Orlando, Florida-raised CCM singer/songwriter Karyn Williams, busts out of the gate with some real horsepower before settling into a more comfortable, country-infused, AOR folk-pop gait. Opening track "Call," a nosebleed seat, modern rock praise anthem that skillfully blends the measured fervor of Natalie Grant, the youthful desperation of Taylor Swift, and the stadium-sized pyrotechnics of Evanescence (the album boasts a flurry of guest producers, including Brian G. White, Barry Weeks, Chris Bevins, Craig Swift, and Keith Everett Smith), while not wholly indicative of what follows, offer up a fairly accurate audio snapshot of Williams' style, which draws a great deal from the contemporary country pop scene while maintaining enough inspirational hyperbole to secure a few Dove award nominations, some of which will likely fall at the feet of Only You's emotionally charged first single, "Rest in the Hope." When she's not dabbling in radio-ready, midtempo highway anthems, Williams employs a softer, less comprehensively introspective narrator, offering up intimate, Sunday morning crowd pleasers like "Waiting in the Rain" and "This Is Freedom," the latter of which, along with the lovely, piano-led title cut, the jaunty, Beatlesque "Banner," and the Michael Tait-assisted power ballad "Hey There," appeared on her 2011 Wake Up EP, bring to mind some of her more obvious influences like Jewel, Sandi Patty, Avalon, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Carrie Underwood, Steven Curtis Chapman, and the aforementioned Swift. ~ James Christopher Monger