Trisha Yearwood is fast becoming the Tammy Wynette of modern country music.
I first became aware of Ms Yearwood in the dim and distance past (well, the early 90s) when CMT (Country Music Television) was available in Europe. I became interest in the new sound of modern country music and would leave it on in the background for hours.
Through my large amount of watching, I started to become aware of 2 particular songs which stuck in my head. One of them was "In Love With the Boy" (track 9) by Trisha Yearwood.
The song was a gorgeous, uplifting tale of young (and not so young) love that I couldn't help singing along with. Whilst the song hooked me, I was fascinated by the singer. In amongst the tight jeaned, cowboy hatted, female country singers Ms Yearwood seemed like a breath of fresh air.
Her voice was rich and strong (without the obvious country twang) and her look was fresh and real.
I discovered that In Love With the Boy was actually a very old song, and Ms Yearwood had amassed an impressive back catalogue in the meantime.
This back catalogue is neatly summed up in A Collection of Hits.
The album begins with a song which may suprise most - How Do I Live - a song which most UK people will associate with Leanne Rhymes. However, the song was written for the film Con Air, and the producers did not like Leanne's treatment so the version from the film (the official version if you like) is Trisha's.
Trisha brings a much smoother, less dramatic and more intimate vibe to the song than the youngster Leanne.
The album continues with some of Trisha's more recent 90s singles. However, tracks 4 and 5 bring us a flavour of what Trisha does best - gut-wrenching, soaring heartbreak. In Another's Eyes is an emotionally wraught and freakishly clairvoyant duet with her future husband, country legend, Garth Brooks.
Trisha seems to thrive in duets as another of the collection's stand out tracks is Walkaway Joe, which features backing vocals by Don Henley. It is an achingly sad tale of trailer trash love and the pureness of their voices and harmonies wonderfully counter balances this.
Don't be put off by the country moniker, as while some of the tracks feature steel guitars, violins and typical country themes, many of the songs straddle the pop genre comfortably. Most notably, A Perfect Love and Believe Me Baby (I Lied).
For my money, though, the money shots are saved till the end of the CD
with a trilogy of brilliance. On a Bus to St Cloud is a stunning song of loss, written by the hugely talented Gretchen Peters and sung with amazing soul and depth by Trisha.
Trisha gives us a taste of her rock side when she eases her way through Melissa Etheridge's You Can Sleep While I Drive.
And finally, she wanders into a hymnal mood with the almost acapella, spiritual, haunting strength of The Flame.
Each track shows a side of Ms Yearwood's versatile voice. She's smooth and joyous, heartbreaking and angry, soft and rocking and this collection gives us glimpses into the many facets of Ms Yearwood's long career.
The first time I heard a Trisha Yearwood song was on the television programme Stars In Their Eyes. One of the hopeful contestants sang the song XXX’s and OOO’s and I really did enjoy it. Unfortunately I had missed the name of the real artist and had to wait patiently until the end of the programme to find out it was Trisha Yearwood. At that time I had never heard any of her music, but I spent the next couple of hours on the Internet reading up about this artist and listening to some samples of her music. The next day I ordered the CD (Songbook) and have been obsessed with this CD ever since. It is a great mixture of slow ballads and lively country music that she sings really well. There are 17 tracks on this CD: How Do I Live. This is a lovely slow track to start off this album. It shows off the power of Trisha’s voice in this very moving ballad. There is also some great saxophone playing in the middle of this track. Apparently this song was featured in the film Con Air, but as I have not seen that film I don’t know how appropriate it was, but it is a good song. The Song Remembers When. This is a much softer track and is a great late at night soppy song to play. There seems to be so much emotion in her voice you really do feel that she is singing from the heart. The Wrong Side Of Memphis. This is the first of the country songs on this album and it is OK, but not really one of favourites. In Another’s Eyes. This is a great track. This is a powerful duet with Garth Brooks, which is a slow country ballad. I would imagine that this would be really great when sung live because of the feelings between the two singers. The Woman Before Me. This is another slow track, but is probably the best ballad on the CD. It has haunting melodies that make you want to play it again and again. You have to listen to the words for this song as they have great meaning a
bout the relationship between a woman and her man. Perfect Love. This is lively little track that makes you want to sing along. Thinkin’ About You. There is a more country feel to this track and I do like the sound of Trisha’s voice in this song. It seems to have a more rugged tone to it, which really suits this tune. Down On My Knees. This is a slow passionate song that is OK but not one of the great tracks of the album. I prefer the tracks to have more of a country feel to them. She’s In Love With The Boy. This is a great country song. A good traditional country sound with some great violin playing. As you would expect, like all great country songs there is a story in the lyrics. This is about a couple of young country kids that have fallen in love and nothing else in the world matters. There is a great sing-along chorus to this track. Walkaway Joe. This is a soppy song that is sung exceptionally well. There seems so much depth to Trisha’s voice on this track. XXX’s and OOO’s (An American Girl). This was the track that I bought this CD for. It is wonderful country song that just makes you feel you should be on your way to Nashville to hear other music that is as good as this. Unfortunately it is one of the shortest tracks on the album (less than 3 minutes) but every second is worth listening to. A great song for dancing along to. Like We Never Had A Broken Heart. This is a complete contrast to the last track. This is a very slow love song that is sung extremely well. A Lover Is Forever. The guitar plucking on this track makes it more like a blues song rather than country music. If you are feeling a bit depressed then don’t listen to this track, it is very solemn. Believe Me Baby I Lied. After the last two depressing tracks it is good to get back to some good old country music with this much livelier track.
This is traditional country folk song. On A Bus To St. Cloud This is a very orchestral track and a bit “ordinary” for my liking. Although it is sung very well, it is a slow melodic song that has nothing special about it. You Can Sleep While I Drive. This is another very slow song that sounds very similar to the previous track. The Flame. This track starts like a classical piece of music and the first time I heard it I had to check that it actually should be on this CD. After the start Trisha then sings unaccompanied before the song really starts. This is definitely not a great track. Overall I think this an excellent CD with some very passionate slow songs contrasting to some very lively country music. Trisha Yearwood has a very powerful voice and makes this an excellent CD to listen to at any time, although I do prefer to play it late at night in a darkened room. However I do normally skip the last three tracks as they are a bit depressing and I prefer the more country sounding tracks that are more towards the start of the album. If you enjoy listening to a powerful female singing voice then I would highly recommend this album especially the two tracks: The Woman Before Me and XXX’s and OOO’s
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 How Do I Live - Trisha Yearwood, Ron Huff
2 The Song Remembers When
3 Wrong Side Of Memphis
4 In Another's Eyes - Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks
5 The Woman Before Me
6 A Perfect Love
7 Thinkin' About You
8 Down On My Knees
9 She's In Love With The Boy
10 Walkaway Joe
11 XXX's And OOO's (An American Girl)
12 Like We Never Had A Broken Heart
13 A Lover Is Forever
14 Believe Me Baby (I Lied)
15 On A Bus To St. Cloud
16 You Can Sleep While I Drive
17 The Flame