Trisha Yearwood songs point back to a time when talented women got a fair shake in Nashville, allowing a wide range of listeners to discover these and other great songs.
Whether solo or with future husband Garth Brooks as her duet partner, Yearwood's best songs represent a time when mainstream county struck a healthy balance between honoring traditional sounds and chasing pop acceptance.
Here's our playlist of the 12 greatest hits by a Grand Ole Opry member and multi-time CMA, ACM and Grammy award winner.
12. "Believe Me Baby (I Lied)" (Everybody Knows, 1996)
The narrator in the second single from Everybody Knows admits they were playing it cool when acting like they weren't giddy about a potential relationship with whoever's on the other end of the phone. The admission of "wounded pride" became the fourth of five Yearwood singles to top the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
11. "Thinkin' About You," (Thinkin' About You, 1995)
Yearwood sings of wistful daydreaming about a special someone on what became the third No. 1. She sounds great, as usual, so there's something else setting this one apart: slide guitar accompaniment by fellow country star Lee Roy Parnell.
10. "How Do I Live" ((Songbook) A Collection of Hits, 1997)
A rundown of the best Yearwood songs would be incomplete without this one, even if Leann Rimes' stellar rendition of a Diane Warren original might be better-known now. This recording that made it in the film Con Air and earned Yearwood a Grammy Award will always represent a particular moment in pop culture history.
9. "Georgia Rain" (Jasper County, 2005)
The main selling point of Yearwood's 2005 comeback album Jasper County remains this sentimental song that references the singer's home state. It's a five minute-plus story-song that's a near-perfect showcase of Yearwood's mighty alto vocals.
8. "That's What I Like About You" (Trisha Yearwood, 1991)
Like Sara Evans and other country singer peers, Yearwood came out the gate with traditional-sounding country songs. Take for instance this 1991 cut that's a honky-tonk throwback. Indeed, the co-write by underrated solo artist Kevin Welch is as rollicking as anything by Alan Jackson or anyone else in Nashville.
7. "In Another's Eyes" (Feat. Garth Brooks ((Songbook) A Collection of Hits, 1997)
This Yearwood and Brooks duet is good enough to warrant consideration for his and her best songs lists. It left enough of an imprint on country music that it would've linked them together forever without their future marriage. Other duets of note range from Yearwood's second single ever, 1991's "Like We Never Had a Broken Heart," to the title track of Yearwood's 1998 studio album Where Your Road Leads.
6. "Wrong Side of Memphis" (Hearts in Armor, 1992)
Yearwood's offering that best mirrored some of her peers' bluesy, rocking vibe also features classic country instrumentation, accentuating a story-song with a strong sense of place. This was the first single on her second album, Hearts in Armor.
5. "Walkaway Joe" (With Don Henley) (Hearts in Armor, 1992)
One of the saddest songs of its time, "Walkaway Joe" teams Yearwood with the Eagles' Don Henley for a tale of hard living and broken hearts. Bonus points for a music video that stars a then-unknown Matthew McConaughey.
4. "The Song Remembers When" (The Song Remembers When, 1993)
This weepy ballad --the kind that's made Reba McEntire millions-- remains one of the best examples of Yearwood's vast talent as a soulful vocalist and emotive song interpreter. The song was written by Hugh Prestwood and originally recorded to Kathy Mattea, though it never made it onto one of her albums.
3. "A Perfect Love" ((Songbook) A Collection of Hits, 1997)
High-energy '90s country, custom made to match the scope of a stadium show, suited Yearwood's mighty voice, as heard on this classic single about what a powerful thing love is and what a joy it is find it. It's one of several bonus tracks from a greatest hits compilation that made it onto our list.
2. "XXX's and OOO's (An American Girl)" (Thinkin' About You, 1995)
Often, a great country song's narrator tells a first-person story that's relatable to people from all walks of life. Yearwood really does sing for the small-town, all-American youngster on this co-write by the great Alice Randall and Matraca Berg. It's the lead single from platinum disc Thinkin' About You.
1. "She's In Love With The Boy" (Trisha Yearwood, 1991)
As usual, it's hard to argue against the most obvious song being an artist's best. Yearwood's debut single still gets stuck in the heads of anyone who runs across it on a streaming playing-- or, in true '90s fashion, gives her self-titled debut album a spin.
This story was first published in 2018.
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