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On her ninth release, Real Live Woman, Trisha Yearwood continues to partner her sterling vocals with honest and challenging material. Possessing a vocal ability that can convey any emotion, Yearwood dances as always through distinct facets of country, folk, rock and pop with unashamed interpretation and breathtaking verse. Whether opening with the mandolin-surged "Where Are You Now," guiding the 12-string, ‘60s pop hints of "Come Back," or closing with the dusky "When A Love Song Sings The Blues," Real Live Woman reveals a breadth of material not always found amongst contemporary country releases.
A pensive mix of agile grace and gutsiness, the album’s twelve tracks portray a continued growth. In addition to vocals, Trisha co-produced the album with longtime producer Garth Fundis (something she first did in 1998 with Tony Brown on Where Your Road Leads). Meticulous detail and patience is evident, whether listening to the country-rock bent of "One Love" or the minimal acoustic warmth of "I’m Still Alive." Real Live Woman allows Trisha’s superb voice, as well as the instrumentation, to breathe and soar organically. The wailing steel-guitar on "Real Live Woman" and the percussive accents of "I Did," for example, also exemplify attention to the mood.
Careful song selection proves to be another great piece of Real Live Woman’s stylistic tapestry. "Where Are You Now" was penned by fellow artists Kim Richey and Mary Chapin Carpenter (who also sing harmony on the cut). Compositions from such noted songwriters as Harlan Howard, Matraca Berg, Al Anderson, Gary Nicholson, Bobbie Cryner and others fully mesh with Trisha’s intuitive interpretive vocal talents. Also featured are unique takes on songs originally recorded by two of Yearwood’s many influences: Bruce Springsteen’s "Sad Eyes" (featuring harmony vocals by Jackson Browne) and Linda Ronstadt’s "Try Me Again."
Trisha’s commitment and poise have paid off since day one. Growing up in rural Monticello, Georgia, a love of music and performing led Trisha to Nashville. There she studied at Belmont College, worked odd jobs (such as record label receptionist and tour guide at the Country Music Hall of Fame), and most importantly began singing on songwriters’ demos in which her pitch perfect voice was heard by record company executives all over the industry. After signing with MCA Nashville in 1990 and releasing her debut single "She’s In Love With The Boy" (which went to #1), the floodgates burst open. The next year, Trisha Yearwood became the first debut album by a female country artist to ever reach platinum status, thus firmly establishing the young singer as an important new voice in music. Since then, songs such as "Wrong Side of Memphis," "XXX’s and OOO’s (An American Girl)," "Believe Me Baby (I Lied)," "The Song Remembers When," "Everybody Knows" and an armory of other hits have propelled her career continuously upwards, with her seven subsequent albums selling in excess of thirteen million copies. In addition, she has earned ten #1 singles, nine top-10’s, three Grammy Awards, multiple Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music Awards and an American Music Award (among others). Her song "How Do I Live" (written by Diane Warren and featured in the movie Con-Air) was nominated for an Oscar, giving Trisha an opportunity in 1998 to fulfill a dream – a performance on the Academy Awards.
Accordingly, the release of her 1997 greatest hits package (Songbook: A Collection of Hits) capped six albums worth of solid work. Not only did it debut at number one, as well as carry all three previously unrecorded singles to the same position ("How Do I Live," "In Another’s Eyes" and "Perfect Love"), but it was followed by Trisha’s winning of country music’s Triple Crown: the Grammy, CMA and ACM awards for Female Vocalist of the Year.
Hand in hand – though certainly more gratifying – is the continued respect she has been shown from her fans, the media and the industry. Over the last nine years she has performed for millions of listeners in settings ranging from quaint theaters to major arenas and stadiums across the globe. She sang at the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Olympic Games, dueted with Pavarotti (at his request) in Italy in 1998 and performed (at Quincy Jones’ invitation) at the White House for America’s Millenium Celebration. Her 1999 induction into the Grand Ole Opry solidified her place within the country community and mirrored her love for it.
Peer recognition and project involvement are also indicative of Yearwood’s depth. Her second album, 1992’s Hearts In Armor, paired her with Don Henley on the striking ballad "Walkaway Joe." She won a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Collaboration in 1994 for her rendition of "I Fall To Pieces" with Aaron Neville, and again in 1998 for "In Another’s Eyes," her first duet with Garth Brooks. R & B artist/producer R. Kelly requested to work with her on a track for the motion picture Life. An in-demand duet partner/harmony vocalist, she has also performed, either on record or live on stage, with Mary Chapin Carpenter, Natalie Cole, Bob Dylan, Whitney Houston, Emmylou Harris and Brian McKnight (among others).
Along the way she has also been involved in special projects such as: appearing as herself in the movie The Thing Called Love, taking on a successful recurring acting role in the CBS television drama "JAG," and authoring the forward to Love Always, Patsy - a collection of letters sent by Patsy Cline to a fan. She has also recorded songs for the motion pictures Hope Floats, For The Love Of The Game, and Stuart Little, as well as the previously mentioned Con- Air and Life, and the television movie XXX’s and OOO’s.
Trisha Yearwood has crafted a musical career that is not only timely, but timeless. Day by day, she has earned success alongside only a handful of others not content with the immediacy of trend or compromise. Fortunately for her, the rewards have duly arrived. Fortunately for music lovers, with the release of Real Live Woman the inspiration and virtue remain intact.
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