Deana Carter's debut album may have seemed like the arrival of an overnight sensation, but that was hardly the truth. Carter cracked it finally at 30, after trying since she was 17 as the daughter of kicking country guitar picker Fred Carter. With its ironic odd title and its mix of singer/songwriter folk, new traditionalist country, and pop, Carter came up with a winner. Produced by Chris Farren and Jimmy Bowen, Carter's album features six originals, including the title track, "Count Me In," the amazing opener, "I've Loved Enough to Know," with its hooky guitars, shimmering fiddles, and cascading pianos, the gorgeous "Love Ain't Worth Making" and "Before We Ever Heard Goodbye," and "How Do I Get There." These are the album's strongest tunes, full of passion and sincerity regarding love, its fulfillment and impossibility, as well as its mystery. And the woman can write a hook. There's a radio-friendly rock and pop feel to tracks such as Mac Wiseman's hard country tonkin' "If This Is Love" and Matraca Berg's pedal steel-ringing "Strawberry Wine." That she sold a few million copies of this record to country fans is not surprising at all; that she sold a few million more to AAA radio fans and to those whose musical tastes are dictated by NPR is. Most of these folks bitch like crazy about "young country," and Carter defined it with her very first record in all the best ways: using the country tradition to make fine, well-crafted music that appeals to a broad range of tastes.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek