You've probably never heard of Andrea Zonn. Until a copy of Love Goes On showed up in my mailbox, neither had I. Her press release calls her "Nashville's secret weapon" because she has played on so many major performers' albums. Her credits include work with Alison Krauss, Lyle Lovett, Trisha Yearwood, and Vince Gill. The daughter of Paul Martin Zonn, chair of musical theory and composition department at the University of Illinois, Andrea grew up surrounded by music, and began playing violin at the age of 5. By 10 Andrea was competing in fiddle contests. At 16 Zonn immigrated to Nashville where she began playing on studio sessions. In 1990 she joined Vince Gill's band, and 13 years later is still a member.
Unlike many studio aces and "sidemen" whose solo albums showcase their technical skills, Love Goes On zeros in on Zonn's singing and arranging. Instead of original compositions she chooses songs from A-list writers like Beth Neilson Chapman, Karla Bonoff, Tom Kimmel, Don Poythress, Craig Carothers, Neil Finn, Leslie Satcher, and Paul Brady. Love Goes On highlights Zonn's ability to interpret great songs for maximum emotional and musical impact. Although much of what Zonn has done professionally has been in a country musical idiom, Love Goes On is far more mainstream pop than country. The opening track, Beth Neilson Chapman's "Heads Up for the Wrecking Ball," begins with syncopated drums followed by a pulsing violin line. That's certainly not the sort of arrangement you'll find on a country CD. Along with her marvelously seductive voice, Zonn contributes violin, viola, and chin cello. Other musicians on Love Goes On include Steven Sheehan on acoustic guitar, Tom Britt on electric guitar, Alison Brown on banjo, John Jarvis on piano, Tim O'Brien and Trent Truitt on mandolin, John Garner on drums, and Alison Krauss, Amy Grant, Marcus Hummon, Jeff White, Darrell Scott, Billy Thomas, John Randall Stewart, Jeff White, and Vince Gill on backing vocals.
The hallmarks of a modern pop album are the lush production values. Love Goes On delivers the required suave sophisticated sonics. Complicated mixes retain the instruments' individual voices in complex musical textures. Mixed by veteran studio pro Dave Sinko and mastered by Randy LeRoy at Final Stage in Nashville, TN, Love Goes On has the same level sound quality you'd expect from a multi-platinum big-budget major label release.
Love Goes On satisfies on many levels. With superb songs, expertly arranged and performed, delivered with great feeling and musicality. In the end the only disappointing thing about Love Goes On is to realize that it's Andrea Zonn's only solo release.