Crystal Shawanda - Dawn of A New Day

Country music often speaks to the human condtion and that's exactly what Crystal Shawanda's RCA Records debut does.  Not only that, "Dawn of A New Day" announces the arrival of an artist worthy of any accolades she may receive. Yup, it's that good.

From the moment you play “Dawn of a New Day,” twin fiddles blare out of the speakers and it’s easy to see that Crystal Shawanda is not your average contemporary country music artist.  “Evolution” leads off the record and it immediately showcases her powerful, smoke-tinged voice.  It might be about a singer but the lyrics could also be interpreted to be about trying to find happiness in one’s life.   The groove is undeniable and Shawanda’s personality is infectiously injected into the song as well.  “My Roots Are Showin’” showcases a woman who’s not afraid to be where she came from or to be who she is.

And that’s exactly what you get when you listen to the rest of “Dawn of a New Day.”  It’s full of the kind of traditional country-based tunes that are just a pleasure to listen to.  Some are going to be bound to compare Crystal to her label mate Gretchen Wilson and at times it’s an apt comparison.  In fact, Gretchen co-wrote (with John Rich and Sharon Vaughn) “Baby You’re Back” and while I could picture Gretchen singing the song, I just don’t think she’d sing it quite the way Crystal has here.  The album’s title track comes up next on the record and, like “Evolution,” it’s a song that discusses how we have to be willing to take risks to get to what we want out of life.

“You Can Let Go” is Crystal’s debut single and it’s an emotional song that speaks to what country music is about.  It’s about life, from birth to death and how we can survive when we lose someone.  Also, the song is about being able to let go of the ones we love as they move on so it’s a song that hits on many levels.  “What Do I Have To Do” is another ballad but this one falls more in the power ballad area.  However, instead of being a hackneyed piece of music, Crystal’s voice elevates the song to that of a Wynonna or Trisha Yearwood kind of song.  It’s a song that basically says, “I’m here, why don’t you pay attention to me.” Who hasn’t experienced that emotion in life?

Crystal Shawanda and her producer Scott Hendricks have crafted a hell of a debut album.  It has everything that speaks to the human condition.  She also has some risky songs on the record, for example the Bluesy honky tonkin’ cover of “Your Cheatin’ Heart.”   It’s the “Dawn of a New Day” in country music because Crystal Shawanda is a star and this album proves it.