After spending years pursuing a mainstream pop career, Olivia Newton-John returned to Nashville in the late '90s to record Back with a Heart. By that time, of course, the boundaries between Nashville and adult contemporary pop had been blurred beyond belief, so it was no great stretch for her to tackle contemporary country. Nevertheless, Newton-John quite obviously put a great deal of effort into the making of Back with a Heart -- the record is her best in years. It's much slicker than even her polished country-pop from the '70s, but a team of producers -- Don Cook, John Farrar, Gary Burr, Tony Brown, Chris Farren and David Foster -- have created an appealingly smooth sound that gives her a platform to showcase her mature craftsmanship. None of the songs immediately stand out, but the album has a consistent quality that is thoroughly winning.
Back with a Heart Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine