Carmen Rasmusen's name and face might ring a bell for fans of American Idol; she made it into the final six during the second season of the television program, the same season that made Clay Aiken a star. It would be easy to dismiss Rasmusen based on such ignoble beginnings, and she certainly does aim squarely at the polished, often artistically anemic world of mainstream country with her album Nothin' Like the Summer. The weakness of this album is in its predictability: Every country-pop flourish is employed here, particularly on the title track, which reels off a list of bucolic, rural memories, delighting in the kind of sepia-toned front-porch/fishing-pole pap that Nashville has tried to sell listeners countless times before. (And, frankly, Rasmusen seems a bit young to have such nostalgic reveries.) In fact, every track here seems to employ a tried-and-true template, from every chord progression, to every sentiment, to every vocal nuance, to every peal of pedal steel. (Rasmusen is credited with a couple of co-writes, but for the most part, the songs are manufactured for her by other songwriters.) Nevertheless, Rasmusen does have a nice set of pipes and a rich, rounded tone that is reminiscent of the ivory-throated Kelly Willis. For the most part though, this is a predictable album. But in the mainstream country music world, predictability can often open doors.
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AllMusic Review by Erik Hage