DONNA DEAN: What Am I Gonna Do?
By Amy Maclaine
A wealth of musical influences has shaped Aucklander Donna Dean’s sound, a smooth blend of country, blues, rock and bluegrass. Each of these elements is in full effect here, the sound of American country music honed through Dean’s touring and work with artists such as The Amazing Rhythm Aces, Spooner Oldham and Jimmy Webb strong on the album. Dean says she has always found songwriting an easy, natural way of expressing herself, a journal-like outlet of her problems that enabled her to get through various challenges faced. Personal experience of addiction, depression, divorce etc. is wholly interwoven through this release, leading to an album of heartfelt, meaningful tracks. Each well-crafted song is lyrically convincing and builds a strong portrait of the artist, the powerful and heart-warming ballads providing good contrast to the country rockers with catchy hooks and stomp. A country album boldly filled with real soul from a former NZ Music Awards’ double Tui winner, it’s certainly one to check out.