Music Row (2007), a collection of American country music covers recorded in Nashville, was such a success for Jill Johnson that she followed it up with a second volume two years later. Music Row II once again finds the Swedish country-pop star covering a bunch of well-known material along with a few lesser-known songs. On the first volume Johnson included multiple songs popularized by Dolly Parton ("Jolene," "Why'd You Come in Here Looking Like That," "To Know Him Is to Love Him"), Linda Ronstadt ("You're No Good," "Tumbling Dice"), and the Judds ("Papa He's Crazy," "Why Not Me"); indeed, most of the songs were originally popularized by women. As on the first volume, Parton figures prominently on Music Row II, in particular a pair of highlights from her late-'70s country-pop heyday ("Here You Come Again," "Two Doors Down"), and Ronstadt shows up on the album opener, a cover of her interpretation of Neil Young's "Love Is a Rose." Elsewhere on Music Row II, there are multiple songs popularized by Bonnie Raitt ("Thing Called Love," "Love Me Like a Man," "I Can't Make You Love Me") and Emmylou Harris ("Too Far Gone," "Together Again"). These aforementioned Parton, Ronstadt, Raitt, and Harris covers comprise eight of the 12 songs on Music Row II and speak to the influence of these women on Johnson. As for the rest of the album, Johnson covers Bonnie Tyler ("It's a Heartache"), Bob Dylan ("What Good Am I"), Bread ("Lost Without Your Love"), and Bruce Springsteen ("No Surrender"). While these covers are considerably more surprising, the mid-'80s Springsteen song in particular, Johnson had likewise included a couple rockers (e.g., the Eagles' "Life in the Fast Lane") on the first volume to great effect. Also keeping with the spirit of the first volume, Music Row II includes duets with Björn Skifs on "Thing Called Love" and Titiyo on "Too Far Gone." All in all, Music Row II is no less fun than its predecessor and should be no less successful. If she weren't already a Swedish country-pop superstar in her own right, Johnson could make a respectable career out of covers albums like this.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier