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Rank a Discography: Trisha Yearwood

In the comments section of the last Rank a Discography, I mentioned in passing that I could not personally rank Trisha Yearwood’s discography, but would be happy to let someone else give it a shot. My Kind of Country’s J.R. Journey answered the call with this ranking of Yearwood’s studio albums to date. Thanks, J.R.!

Incidentally, the Keith Whitley spotlight at My Kind of Country last month was fantastic. They’re putting the focus on Tanya Tucker this month, so be sure to check in throughout June for all things Tanya. (My only Tanya insight is that I believe the name should be pronounced “tawn-ya” rather than “TAN-ya.” So apparently I’ve got a lot to learn.)

Now, onward to Trisha Yearwood. As always, feel free to give your own rankings in the comments.

1. Inside Out (2001)
This was the first Trisha Yearwood album I ever bought. It also features my favorite version of my favorite song ever, Trisha’s take on Rosanne Cash’s classic “Seven Year Ache.” Likewise, Trisha breathes new life into Rebecca Lynn Howard’s “I Don’t Paint Myself Into Corners.” Other highlights from this 5 star album include “Harmless Heart,” “Melancholy Blue,” and “Second Chance.” This album has a tinge of sadness running through every track, which is perhaps why it’s my favorite.

2. Heaven, Heartache, and the Power of Love (2007)
For her debut on Big Machine Records, Trisha Yearwood gave us the most consistent set of her career. There’s not a track on this album that I skip. “This Is Me You’re Talking To” is possibly the finest single she’s released to date. And even the up-tempos become poignant works in Trisha’s hands as ‘They Call It Falling For A Reason” and the title track resonate deeply. “Cowboys Are My Weakness” and “The Dreaming Fields” are also must-haves.

3. Real Live Woman (2000)
Trisha had been dabbling in country-pop for the better part of her career, but dove in head first with this release. The results are nothing less than magic. The title track is honesty and poetry in a beautiful marriage. But Trisha Yearwood’s greatest strength has always been in covering other artists songs. And true to form, the highlight of this album is her take on Linda Ronstadt’s “Try Me Again.” Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “Where Are You Now” is also superb.

4. Hearts In Armor (1992)
A gorgeous take on Emmylou Harris’s “Woman Walk The Line,” the marvelous “Nearest Distant Shore” and the Keith Whitley penned “You Don’t Have To Move That Mountain” are just a few of the now classic non-radio singles from this landmark release. Radio embraced “Down On My Knees,” “Walkaway Joe,” and “Wrong Side of Memphis.” Meanwhile, the critics called this the best album of 1992.

5. Everybody Knows (1996)
In 1996, the women of country music were releasing frisky, up-tempo numbers to radio one after the other. And Trisha Yearwood kept with this trend with the release of “Believe Me Baby I Lied” and the title track to this release. Meanwhile, “I Need You” and “It’s Alright” appeased the ballad-lovers.

6. Thinkin’ About You (1995)
This is possibly Trisha’s most introverted and eclectic album, as far as the song selection go. It’s also her most overlooked, having produced two megahits in the title track and “American Girl (XXXs and OOOs)” but also containing Trisha’s take on Gretchen Peters’ “On A Bus To St. Cloud,” Melissa Etheridge’s “You Can Sleep While I Drive” and a cover of the Tammy Wynette hit “Til I Get It Right.”

7. Trisha Yearwood (1991)
Trisha Yearwood’s self-titled debut not only contains her signature “She’s In Love With The Boy,” but also forgotten gems like “The Woman Before Me” and “Like We Never Had A Broken Heart.” With the release of this album, Trisha established herself as a force to be reckoned with during country’s boom years.

8. Jasper County (2005)
This 2005 ‘comeback set’ – released over 4 years after Inside Out – finds Trisha falling back to the days of old as she revisits many of the sounds and themes of her 1990s albums. Ronnie Dunn sings harmony on the dazzling “Try Me” and “Georgia Rain” is as good a song as ever came out of Nashville.

9. The Song Remembers When (1993)
The third album release from Trisha Yearwood also saw Trisha dipping into the songbooks of some of the greatest songwriters of all time. Rodney Crowell provides harmony vocals on the elegant “I Don’t Fall In Love So Easy,” a song he also penned. Willie Nelson steps up to the microphone to add his vocals to “One In A Row.” And the title track is a soaring ode to unrequited love – and one of the first instances of Trisha’s peerless knack for delivery.

10. Where Your Road Leads (1998)
Trisha’s only pairing with the legendary Tony Brown yielded an album that was far less than the sum of its parts. With tracks written by the likes of Don Schlitz, Bob DiPiero, Victoria Shaw, and Carole King, this release is the only album in Yearwood’s storied catalog I would call lackluster. Some gems still shone through with the likes of “There Goes My Baby” and “Heart Like A Sad Song.”

In Summary


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  1. Nice rankings, but I’d personally rank Jasper County toward the top of the list with <Heaven, Heartache… right above it.

    • Definitely agree with Leeann. I can’t rank them because I don’t have them all, but HHatPoL is my favorite folloed by Thinkin’ About You and Hearts In Armor.

    • I’m with Leann. I’d also move Inside Out to the very bottom of the list as it is my least favorite Trisha Yearwood album.

    • Just in case I wasn’t clear…and I wasn’t…HHTPOL is at the top of the list for me, with Jasper County following it. I can’t rank the others, because while I own all of them, I don’t visit them as much as the two at the top.

  2. Solid rankings, of course. My rankings, however, would be:

    1. Real Live Woman
    2. HHPoL
    3. The Song Remembers When
    4. Everybody Knows
    5. Inside Out
    6. Thinkin’ About You
    7. Jasper County
    8. Trisha Yearwood
    9. Hearts In Armor
    10. Where Your Road Leads

    Trisha’s is probably the hardest catalog there is to rank.

  3. I’d rank them:
    1. Hearts In Armor
    2. Trisha Yearwood
    3. Inside Out
    4. The Song Remembers When
    5. Thinkin’ About You
    6. Heaven, Heartache And The Power Of Love
    7. Everybody Knows
    8. Where Your Road Leads
    9. Jasper County
    10. Real Live Woman

    • 01. The Song Remembers When
      02. Real Live Woman
      03. Heaven, Heartache And The Power Of Love
      04. Inside Out
      05. Everybody Knows
      06. Thinkin’ About You
      07. Hearts In Armour
      08. Jasper County
      09. Trisha Yearwood
      10. Where Your Road Leads

  4. 1) Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love: “Dreaming Fields” is a modern-day masterpiece. She takes the disparate themes (see title) and strands of country (pop, blues, Western swing) and forms a near-flawless portrait.
    2) Hearts in Armor
    3) Real Live Woman: More folks should cover Chapin (“Where Are You Now”) and Springsteen (“Sad Eyes”). Love the Bobbie Cryner title track, too.
    4) Thinkin’ About You: “You Can Sleep While I Drive” was ignored at radio (unfortunately). “On a Bus to St. Cloud is a once-in-a-lifetime song.
    5) Inside Out: True standouts like “I Don’t Paint Myself into Corners” and “Melancholy Blue,” but the production is really heavy in spots.
    6) Jasper County: The first three tracks (“Who Invented the Wheel,” “Pistol” and “Trying to Love You”) make one of the best starts to an album in years, but a couple clunkers drag it down towards the end.
    7) Everybody Knows
    8) The Song Remembers When: A moody set, missing the Yearwood sass and spunk that usually pulls her through even the saddest ballads. Title cut makes my 100 Greatest Songs list.
    9) Trisha Yearwood
    10) Where Your Road Leads

  5. “Jasper County” is definitely her best album <3

  6. I also wanted to say thanks for the props on MKOC’s Keith Whitley coverage.

  7. I’m not real familiar with all of Trisha’s work, but based on what I have heard, it’s tough for me to imagine anything beating Heaven, Heartache, and the Power of Love.

  8. I always find myself favoring the latest addition to her discography. Also, even the least of her albums contains a track that reminds me she’s one of the greatest talents ever. With that being said, here goes…

    1) Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love- The song choices are top-notch and the vocals are pitch-perfect (as usual), but what sets this set apart is the flawless production that brings all of the elements together seamlessly. I hope we will see Trisha diving into different genres and experimenting acoustically in the future (the instrumentation in “We Tried” is to die for).

    2) Hearts in Armor- The album that sealed her fate as the premier female artist of her generation. “Hearts in Armor,” “Down on My Knees,” “Wrong Side of Memphis,” “Walkaway Joe” and “Woman Walk the Line” are just a few of the standouts. Flawless.

    3) Inside Out- I skip a few tracks here, but the knockouts are unmatched, Trisha is a master class belter, but because she doesn’t wail in every song (her subtlety is what makes her the finest interpreter in popular music), I think that is too often overlooked. She lets it rip on “Love Alone” and “I Don’t Paint Myself Into Corners” and I still can’t get over it. Add the low key gems “Melancholy Blue,” “For a While” and “Seven Year Ache” and this set can’t dip much lower than 3.

    4) Thinkin’ About You- This is where Trisha perfected her mastery of the emotional but not overwraught ballad. See: “Till I Get it Right,” “You Can Sleep While I Drive” and “On a Bus to St. Cloud.” And “Fairy Tale” and “Those Words We Said” are overlooked gems.

    5) Real Live Woman- Trisha the artist takes a risk with a moody set that runs in the opposite direction of the popular ladies of the day. With songs like “Where Are You Now?,” “When a Love Song Sings the Blues,” “Wild For You Baby” and “Try Me Again,” I’ll follow her.

    6) Jasper County- Gets extra credit for being the crucible in which “HHPOL” was formed. It’s material isn’t as transcendent as so much of her other work, but “Georgia Rain” is as gorgeous anything else she’s ever done.

    7) The Song Remembers When- An uneven set, but with songs like the title track and “Mr. Radio,” it’s hard to complain.

    8) Trisha Yearwood- We all know the mega hits, but listen to “Fools Like Me” and you’ll realize Trisha had the goods from day 1.

    9) Everybody Knows- Loved the two lead singles, but the rest isn’t half as memorable.

    10) Where Your Road Leads- Bottom of the pack, but let’s hear it for “There Goes My Baby.”

  9. *is quite surprised that Jasper County is quite low on most lists*

  10. Her output is remarkably consistent. So consistent, in fact, that my top 9 picks are almost interchangeable and I have no argument as to why any of those albums couldn’t be someone’s number one choice. Personal preference, that’s all. That being said, I would have liked to have seen The Song Remembers When ranked higher. I tend to gravitate toward her earlier albums. The only position that is a lock for me is Where Your Road Leads at Number 10. But as mentioned in earlier posts, even that album had it’s moments. Namely, “There Goes My Baby.”

    01. Thinkin’ About You (Love “On a Bus To St. Cloud”)
    02. Everybody Knows
    03. The Song Remembers When
    04. Trisha Yearwood
    05. Hearts In Armor
    06. Heaven, Heartache…
    07. Jasper County
    08. Inside Out (Love “I Don’t Paint Myself Into Corners”
    09. Real Live Woman (Love “Where Are You Now”)
    10. Where Your Road Leads

  11. It’s neat to read everybody else’s rankings for these albums too. I really didn’t expect Inside Out to be #1 on any other list (it’s a personal favorite though), but the rest of the albums are all falling into pretty much the same place -the consensus says HHPoL and Hearts In Armor are near the top and Where Your Road Leads towards the bottom.

    And thanks to C.M. Wilcox for letting me rank this discography.

  12. I agree with everyone- Trisha is my favorite artist BECAUSE it is so hard to rank the albums. HHATPOL is exhibit A in why it will be sad to lose great album artists like Trisha if music becomes singles only. Would anyone release Not A Bad Thing or Dreaming Fields both of which are just wonderful as singles? I have the foreign releases of some of the albums and those extra songs (Jackie’s House on Thinkin’ About You is a real favorite) affect my choices, but ask me next month and the order could switch:

    1. Heaven, Heartache ATPOL
    2. Thinkin’ About You
    3. Hearts In Armor
    4. Inside Out
    5. Jasper County
    6. The Song Remembers When
    7. Everybody Knows
    8. Real Live Woman
    9. Trisha Yearwood
    10. Where Your Road Leads

  13. I think HEARTS IN ARMOR is my favorite Yearwood album, but none of them are duds

  14. The more of your rankings I read, the clearer it becomes that I couldn’t do a ranking. So WYRL is no.10 on most of your lists? Hmm, that’s ok, really – only … then i think of the track-list and suddenly I notice that there are also favourites of mine on that one: There goes my Baby, That ain’t the way I heard it, Love wouldn’t lie to me (that must be one of the most vulnerable-sounding performances ever), Bring me all your lovin’ (took a while until that one stuck, but now it’s also one of my favourites) …
    Worst thing is: I think I could find more tracks on it I like a lot. So, what is my least favourite album? Sorry folks, but for the life of me, I just couldn’t say. Somehow the one I listen to at any given time always seems to be the one I like best (or almost). sometimes I think there are albums I like less, too, but then I listen to them again and find that they’re top-notch as well.
    The only thing I can say for sure is that when she releases a new album this usually becomes my favourite for a few months and I’d start thinking “that’s her best, yet”. But after a while you start listening to the old ones again and even if you should find one or two “flaws” on some, at the same time you might find some of her best songs on the same albums …


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