Though she’s the finest albums artist of her generation of country stars, Trisha Yearwood hasn’t actually released an album of all new material since 2007’s Heaven, Heartache, & The Power of Love. Fortunately, there are few signs of rust on Every Girl, which finds the singer in typically extraordinary voice. Few vocalists could navigate the chorus of opener “Workin’ on Whiskey,” with complex phrases that span multiple lines and a melody that reflects the narrator’s cyclical emotions, but Yearwood turns in a masterful performance of power, range, and nuance. Somehow, her rendition of Gretchen Peters’s extraordinary “The Matador” is even better; it’s one of the finest-written songs of the last decade, and Yearwood approaches it with the care and thoughtfulness that its heady metaphors demand. She’s joined by Patty Loveless– herself years overdue for a comeback album– on a gorgeous reading of Ashley McBryde’s “Bible and a .44,” and Yearwood says she drew upon her relationship with her late father to inform her emotionally raw performance.
These three tracks alone make Every Girl an essential addition to Yearwood’s catalogue; most of the other songs settle for a standard of being merely very good. Spirited lead single “Every Girl in This Town” encapsulates the everywoman brand of feminism that has characterized Yearwood’s point-of-view over the course of her career, while “When Lonely Calls” and “What Gave Me Away” favorably recall singles from her commercial heyday. The album’s only true misfire is “Drink Up,” which aims for youthful frivolity but is simply beneath an artist of Yearwood’s caliber. Recording just one poorly-chosen song after a twelve year hiatus from recording country music, though, is a testament to all Trisha Yearwood has gotten right over the course of her career. Every Girl adds to that considerable legacy.
Published as part of Rooted & Restless | Issue 6