To kick off our run-down of Trisha Yearwood’s albums, here’s a guest contribution from long-time friend of My Kind of Country, Michael Allan. Stay tuned for more on Trisha Yearwood this month. – J.R. Journey
Produced by Garth Fundis and released on the premier country label of the 90s, MCA, Trisha Yearwood’s eponymous debut album is also her most commercially successful studio release. It peaked at #2 on Billboard’s Country Albums chart, #31 on the all-genre Billboard 200 and is certified double platinum. It also served as an excellent predictor of what was to come over the next couple of decades and remains one of the strongest debut albums ever released by a masterful song interpreter.
The album kicks off with her debut single, “She’s in Love with the Boy” which rocketed to the top of the charts, making Yearwood only the second female to ever score a #1 hit with her debut single. Driven by an instantly memorable chorus, “She’s in Love with the Boy” is an up-tempo story song about the small town love of Katie and Tommy. Rejected by Kenny Rogers before finding its way to Yearwood, I can’t think of a better example of the right song finding the right artist. An immediate classic, it unfortunately also seems to be the only memory many radio stations seem to have of her catalogue today. Too bad; they’re missing out on the more than 100 great songs that followed this track over the next 20 years and will be reviewed as Trisha Yearwood month continues at MKoC.
Fourth single and second track on the album, “The Woman Before Me”, covers the effect the titular character has had on our vocalist’s man. With a slight AC feel to it, Yearwood’s voice is in fine form and “The Woman Before Me” is fairly representative of what many of her ballad hits sound like. The third track was also the album’s third single. “That’s What I Like About You” is a fun number, sort of like the lyrics of Shania Twain’s “Any Man of Mine” meeting the sound of Yearwood’s own “Wrong Side of Memphis”.
The second single released from the album is up next. Written by Pat Alger and Garth Brooks, with the latter also singing background vocals, “Like We Never Had a Broken Heart” is a tender, piano laden love song. As a listener, one might even feel like they’re intruding on something sexy. Perhaps a sign of what lay ahead for the future couple?
Co-written by Hal Ketchum and one of the most commercially successful songwriters of the decade (and whose well she would revisit later), Kostas, “Fools Like Me” is a bluesy, smoldering piece that I can almost envision Yearwood singing in a smoky lounge somewhere. The song has the vibe of a torch song from another era.
Written by Brooks and Mark D. Sanders, “Victim of the Game” rivals Brooks’ own version from his No Fences album. The aspects of heartbreak are universal and there’s a twist at the end a la Tanya Tucker’s “It Won’t Be Me”. The themes are classic, but Yearwood sells them as new. “When Goodbye Was a Word” is a ballad with a dreamlike, fantastical essence to it and the clarity of Yearwood’s voice is impressive.
In “The Whisper of Your Heart” Yearwood’s powerhouse vocals again sell some rather unremarkable lyrics. They’re good, but in lesser hands, the song’s common “Daddy/Grandpa/Bartender/Wise Old Man Told Me So” theme might fall flat.
After the feisty “You Done Me Wong (And That Ain’t Right)”, “Lonesome Dove” closes the album. The track is a final display of Yearwood’s ability to sing with conviction, perfect tone and pitch and to go from whisper to full throttled wail in a matter of seconds.
Recorded in 1990 and released in the summer of 1991, it’s hard to believe that Trisha Yearwood was only in her mid twenties at the time of her debut. The astounding control of her instrument on some well-chosen songs is a pretty good description of Trisha Yearwood’s career. This was only the beginning.
The album is still widely available at amazon.
Good review. I didn’t know that Kenny Rogers rejected “She’s In Love with the Boy”. Can’t imagine anyone but Trisha singing it but I am a bit tired of it. Since I have all her albums, I’m sure I could name over 50 Yearwood songs I like better.
Have to agree with you there. It was never among my favorite Yearwood songs, though I don’t actually dislike it. Kenny Rogers singing it would have been a total trainwreck.
Nice review, Michael.
Thanks guys. Yes, I’m with you on “She’s in Love…”. It may be among my least favorite TY songs (well… I guess it’s not as bad as “Powerful Thing”), but that’s probably only due to overkill on country radio. Anyway, I guess the story is that Rogers felt the line about “watchin’ the chickens peck the ground” didn’t fit with the image he wanted to project.
Also, does anyone know if Trisha has written any songs before? Just curious. I didn’t get a chance to look at all of her other albums to check.
None. I didn’t think so but I checked to be sure. I’d rather hear a great singer performing some one else’s songs than a mediocre singer recording her own.
She has written some songs, but not recorded them. Garth cut one for the Chris Gaines project and Pat Alger has written with her as has Kent Blazy per interviews I’ve read with them.
You’re right – 4 co-written songs – although none are with Alger or Blazy. The second song (see below) reached #33 in Canada for Michele Wright in 1993. The 4th song was recorded by Garth, an album track on the Chris Gaines cd, as you mentioned.
YEARWOOD PATRICIA L Society: ASCAP IPI No. 337997307
1 . DAY ONE
(Work ID: 340715417)
2 . IF EVER I M OVER YOU
(Work ID: 390509378)
3 . MAGICAL WALT DISNEY WORLD CHRISTMAS CUES
(Work ID: 438116380)
4 . MAIN STREET
(Work ID: 430602609)
It may be lame, but “She’s in Love with the Boy” is still one of my favorite Yearwood songs. I know that a lot of her songs are technically better, but I’m still charmed by it.
I heard an XMRadio interview where she said that Garth had been patiently helping and encouraging her through writing songs. That was when she was promoting the Jasper County album.