Record Of The Week # 127

Trisha Yearwood (Eponymous)

(Country Music People are running a 90s feature and asked the contributors to write up an album review from that decade. In truth I got interested in Country music in the noughties when we visited Florida seemingly annually with the children to mainly visit Disney. Country was on the TV and on the radio and it was a revelation to have such beautiful tuneful music in copious supply. I did literally return with armfuls of CD’s of Country music and I certainly bought all Trisha’s probably in one fell swoop on such a visit. Picking one album was tough but this one is a great place to start.)

The 90s was when I moved past the UK’s idea of country music, ie. Dolly, Glen, Kenny and Johnny and started to discover a whole new world of US country music. There were new stars for me to find such as Reba, Toby, Dwight and Garth. They were shipping millions of CD’s; why didn’t I know? I’d always liked a pop tune, a sentimental and interesting lyric and a tight band. If you added a voice to die for then Trisha Yearwood ticked every box. Today she’s still releasing albums but is also a TV chef. She has a voice that captivates me. Strong, expressive and possessing that magic that tells the story in a way that makes you believe she’s lived it.

Her debut sold two million copies and spawned a number one country chart single and three other subsequent Top 10 hits. The debut hit, “She’s In Love With The Boy”, gave me an insight into the rural ‘Merica of front porches, Chevy trucks, drive in movies, high school rings and daddies and mommas. Thirty years later the same tropes and stories circulate in any country pop record you hear. It painted a picture and one that I dreamt of and eventually did see at close hand.

To make a classic album you need the artist, songs, arrangements and production to be perfect. This has all of this. Garth Fundis’ superb production placed her voice central to the song. His credentials include Don Williams and Chris Whitley as well as several other Yearwood albums. With Matt Rollings’ prominent and seductive piano throughout we hear her beleaguered yet wordly wise take on life and love. It’s a voice that’s always in control and requires little other than the space for the artist to draw you in with her sumptuous tones. Magnificent.

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