“I’ll Carry You Home”
Written by Gordie Sampson, Caitlyn Smith, and Troy Verges
Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood
Written by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, and Andrew Wyatt
Both of these songs are pretty good.
“I’ll Carry You Home” covers familiar territory, expressing unconditional love and support with tried-and-true metaphors. A nice sentiment, but nothing we haven’t heard before.
“Shallow” has received a level of hype and acclaim that has never made much sense to me, but it works well in the context of the film and both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga acquit themselves nicely on the recording.
Neither recording will surface in even a top fifty list of my favorite tracks by Trisha Yearwood. But I want to write about them both because the same thought crossed my mind on two separate occasions now. First, when I heard Yearwood sing “I’ll Carry You Home” on the ACM Awards, and again when I listened to her duet with Garth Brooks for the first time this morning.
The thought is a simple one but it needs to be said: Trisha Yearwood is simply the greatest singer alive.
Oh, you can insert whatever necessary caveat you need to there. Qualify it by genre or region, or suggest that there’s a better singer out there who has yet to be discovered.
But let’s get real. Yearwood is now in her fifties, and she sounds as good or better than at any time in her career. She’s got roughly thirty years of recordings to document that she is without peer as an interpreter of song. She has pure vocal power, but it is never used to showboat. Just to emote.
When she let loose on “Shallow,” it gave me chills. Here’s a song I’ve heard ad nauseum over two years, and it never resonated with me. The original recording lost me when Gaga started belting. Give Yearwood the same lyrics and basic melody, and it becomes a performance for the ages.
As for “I’ll Carry You Home,” I forgot it was even on the Every Girl album. It wasn’t one of the tracks that made it to my go-to playlist. I’ve been too busy playing the hell out of “The Matador.” Revisiting it after the ACM Awards, I picked up on all of the smart choices she made in her delivery. This is a song that could easily have descended into sap, but Yearwood keeps things understated, which makes the message so much more effective.
Neither one of these tracks is among her best, but let’s get real. There isn’t a country artist in history who has sung so many great songs so well. She’s in the same league as Patsy Cline as a vocalist, with a catalog that rivals Emmylou Harris with its relentless consistency.
It’s long past time to start talking about Trisha Yearwood as an all-time great.
I’ll say straight out that she’s the greatest female singer in country music history, and that she deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, and Linda Ronstadt.
Out of all of those women, she’s the only one still alive and at the peak of her abilities. For that reason alone, it’s worth checking out her most recent singles.
Grade: B+ (Both Songs)