Picks and Pans Review: Stepping Stone
If nothing else, this album is a demonstration that today's best pop songwriters show up in country music. Melodious, witty, pointed and well-suited to White's direct, mainstream Nashville style, the 11 songs here are models of intelligent pop. White, a native of Dunedin, Fla., and a former backup singer for Rodney Crowell, collaborated with Craig Wiseman and David Kent in writing the title tune, which deftly points out the thin line between stumbling blocks and stepping stones. Austin Cunningham, Jerry Boonstra and Doak Snead wrote "John Wayne Walking Away," which graphically evokes the kind of neo-Duke stoicism that appeals to some men: "Don't show your cards, don't show your pain/ Keep tellin' yourself it's either me or your freedom."
White's sweet sound on this fourth studio album also benefits from a vocal duet with the rougher-toned Toby Keith on "Only God Could Stop Me Loving You."
On the rest of the album, White is more or less on her own, but that's not exactly a tragedy. She sounds lively, engaged and comfortable with her material.
Bottom Line: Country songs with a sophisticated turn