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.”