Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists: Trisha Yearwood

trisha-yearwoodThe following is a guest contribution from Country Universe reader Cory DeStein.

Throughout my life I have attempted to share my taste in music with those around me. More often than not friends and family will show a interest then kindly move onto the next subject. Only one person in my life has shown me that genuine interest in everything I have ever done. I will never know if we really had that much in common, or if she was just that good at making me happy. That’s a secret I never want to know. Though we shared many interests in music, food, television and in life, there was one topic we both we both enjoyed: the music of Trisha Yearwood.

Throughout the years, I had chances to meet Trisha backstage and at a book signing. Each time she kindly agreed to personalize a photo for my grandmother. During a 2006 meet and greet, I told Trisha what a fan my grandmother was of “XXX’s and OOO’s.” Just less than 2 years later, Trisha personalized a cookbook “To Thelma, XXXs and OOOs Love, Trisha Yearwood.” I didn’t think she’d remember that. The woman’s personality is as impressive as her voice.

This past August, my healthy grandmother began to go downhill after complications from minor surgery. I mentioned on Yearwood’s fan site that my absence may be related to that. Sadly my grandmother passed away shortly after that message. It was a sudden and shocking loss that affected me in ways I will never be able to explain. I felt as if I was robbed of any future memories to be made with her, similar to the ones of the past I cherished so much.

A few weeks after her passing, I received a card in the mail. It was a “get well” card from Trisha Yearwood. She had signed “Thelma, Get Well Soon. Best Wishes, Trisha Yearwood” Just when I thought the doors had closed on us, Trisha gave me one last memory to share with my grandma. Country Universe has given me the chance to write my 25 favorite Trisha Yearwood songs, and I would like to dedicate it to all the years we both shared together enjoying the wonderful entertainer and amazing person’s music.

“Georgia Rain”
Jasper County, 2005

In 2005, after a 4 year hiatus, Yearwood returned with her version of “Strawberry Wine”….in a truck. She sets the scene perfectly for us. Dark storm clouds looming over the Georgia sky. An old truck parked down on a red dirt road. With lightning illuminating the rusted hood, rain drops begin to penetrate the dried clay. Inside two young lovers embrace in their loss of innocence.

“Dreaming Fields”
Heaven, Heartache, and the Power of Love, 2007

I am a city boy; I was raised right outside of Pittsburgh, PA. I can’t exactly understand farming life because I never experienced it. Yearwood narrates this Matraca Berg ballad in a way that places me right on those farmlands, watching modern America taking over the land that families had survived on for generations. Any of us can relate to a song like this, watching the places where we have grown up begin to vanish.

“Down on My Knees”
Hearts in Armor, 1992

Linda Ronstadt once sang, “Love Has No Pride.” Yearwood proves her idol right as she contemplates the possibility of her beau ever leaving her. She declares to him, “No one matters more in my life. Oh, makes me feel like you make me feel inside. And I’ve come far enough to know love’s worth never letting go of, and love is not a matter of pride.”

“Love Wouldn’t Lie to Me”
Where Your Road Leads, 1998

How many times have you heard “I don’t like country music but I like Trisha Yearwood”? This is the perfect example where she can record a song that a pop listener will find enjoyable without invoking the ire of the captious country listener.

“Believe Me Baby (I Lied)”
Everybody Knows, 1996

In this song the woman is the jerk. Yes, ladies and gentlemen. It is possible! Coming off the success of the more adult contemporary style of “Thinkin About You”, Yearwood chose to use a similar style on this track and it fit perfectly with this tune that was co-written by Kim Richey.

“Victim of the Game”
Trisha Yearwood, 1991

I love songs with a twist, and this is the perfect example of such a song. We listen in on what we believe to be Yearwood giving advice to a close friend, but in the closing of the song we learn it is Yearwood scolding herself. “When I look into your eyes/I can really feel the pain/ Starin’ in the mirror at a victim of the game.”

“Walkaway Joe”
Hearts in Armor, 1982

In a day and age where Taylor Swift is singing about the heartbreaks and tragedies of life as a teenager with an adult’s self-awareness, Trisha Yearwood’s classic can help take us back to a time when a seventeen year-old girl’s innocence ran deep.

“Everybody Knows”
Everybody Knows, 1996

Trisha is sick and tired. She’s had a break up, and she’s trying to get through it. Friends, family and even her preacher all have the perfect advice. But she doesn’t need a shrink, not even a drink. Her problem can be solved with some chocolate and a Cosmo, yet everybody still seems to have their own solution that they insist on sharing.

“There Goes My Baby”
Where Your Road Leads, 1998

This is the perfect example of a strong vocal off of a weak album. Trisha Yearwood and Tony Brown don’t quite go together as well as, say, Reba McEntire and Tony Brown. This song is one that shines through the clutter found on her 1998 collection. Many people seem to think they have heard this song before, but Yearwood was the first and only to belt out the notes of this #2 hit.

“She’s in Love With the Boy”
Trisha Yearwood, 1991

In this day and age may it be hard to relate to exchanging rings outside the Tastee-Freez, but anyone who was ever a teenager can clue in on the final verse where Mama stands up to the dad in her child’s defense.

“Real Live Woman”
Real Live Woman, 2000

Trisha arrived home one night in Nashville to find a demo tape in her mailbox. She listened to the song and immediately called the writer, Bobbie Cryner. She didn’t know when or how she would use this song, but she had to have it. The final result is what many call the anthem for woman of all shapes and sizes.

I personally love the woman that the song describes. I can guarantee you any man with the slightest fantasy of a home and a family dreams of building their future with the “Real Live Woman” that Yearwood brings to life.

“This is Me You’re Talking To”
Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love, 2007

Yearwood has a keen ear for finding the perfect song that listeners can relate to. I just love the climax of the song: “Me, the only who really knows you. Me, the one who’s heart you’ve broken. Me, the one who was still hoping you might be missing me.” The final strand of hope that there may be something left in the ruins of their failed relationship.

“Maybe it’s Love’”
Everybody Knows, 1996

The ladies of country’s best guest vocalist, Vince Gill, makes an appearance on this track. The two artists come together as they examine this possible second chance at love. In the final chorus Gill echoes Yearwood’s sentiment in what appears to be a challenge of vocal power from two of the genre’s finest vocalists.

“Lying to the Moon”
The Song Remembers When, 1993

Matraca Berg is a writer who has some of Nashville’s finest songs under her belt. This song was the title track of her debut album and one of her personal favorites. But when Yearwood put this song on her “Song Remembers When” album, Berg vowed she would never sing it live again, because she felt that she could not give justice to the song after Yearwood performed it. A victim of love lost, she is unwilling to accept the facts. She lies to the starry sky, the wind, the night, and even the moon. In her despair, she never realizes she is lying to herself.

“On a Bus to St. Cloud”
Thinkin’ About You, 1995

Many singers, especially female vocalists attempt to leave their audience in awe with hitting that one note that roof raising blast. They show off their sheer power and volume to knock the listener off their feet. Yearwood manages to do the same with a soft and haunting tone in this string-drenched ballad of a lover lost all too soon.

“I Don’t Paint Myself into Corners”
Inside Out, 2001

Vocal supremacy. Go and listen to the last minute of this song, and then go find me a singer who could have come close to that. I will be waiting.

“Where Are You Now”
Real Live Woman, 2000

When I first decided to write this, I had to go back and listen to this song over a half dozen times. How could I say something that hasn’t been said before? The song is a story of fury and disappointment with a past love that didn’t just leave her, he let her down. “You used to soothe me, you used to swear with heart-crossed conviction that you’d be there. Where are you now?”

“Heart’s in Armor”
Hearts in Armor, 1992

A piano, viola and Don Henley’s vocal are Yearwood’s only companions through this stunning journey of missed opportunities. “One more day my heart’s in armor, though I meant to let you in. In an effort not to harm it, I have missed my chance again.” Writer Jude Johnstone described the song as “Everything you ever wanted to do and never quite managed. It’s about regret.”

“Nothin’ ‘Bout Memphis”
Heaven, Heartache, and the Power of Love, 2007

On the day Heaven, Heartache, and the Power of Love was released, I rushed to Wal-Mart at 6 a.m. Soon, I found myself stalled at track #4. It was very difficult to move on to further songs when I had this marvelous story song ringing out through my speakers. The magnificent horn section in the song helps place you right in Memphis. A woman and her new love travel the streets of Elvis’s town as flashbacks of a past relationship haunt her. We have all been in that situation before, where we hide the truth to protect the ones we care about. “I know that it would hurt him if he could see my past. He thinks he’s the only one to touch me like that.”

“Sing You Back to Me”
Heaven, Heartache, and the Power of Love, 2007

“As proud as you are of me right now, I am prouder to be your daughter.”-Trisha Yearwood’s 1997 CMA Female Vocalist acceptance speech.

Jack Yearwood passed away on September 20th, 2005 in Monticello, Georgia. As a tribute, the banker’s daughter did something rare. She recorded a song in which she was the subject, rather than the storyteller. In one take, she finished the song. Every human attribute to emotion can be felt in each and every word of the song; you can hear her tears flood over the melody, and her heart break in the chorus. “A miracle of page and pen, you’d hear it and be here again, and always and forever there would be, a song that I could sing you back to me.”

“XXX’s & OOO’s (An American Girl)”
Thinkin’ About You, 1995

Fun and catchy. This song just has it going on. It was somewhat of a throwback to the audience that fell head over heels for “She’s In Love With the Boy” and maybe that’s who Fundis and Yearwood were aiming for. The end result was a #1 hit and a country recurrent that is still played today. Many may not rate this song as high as I did, but it has always just had a special meaning to me, not so much for the content but for whom it was shared with.


“The Song Remembers When”
The Song Remembers When, 1993

A song for songs, this poetic ballad penned by Hugh Prestwood could have turned into a scream fest if it had fallen into the hands of, say, Martina McBride. Luckily for us Yearwood and Fundis came together in the studio for a perfect delivery of the perfect song. Kris Kristofferson has said Yearwood is the finest interpreter of song, and never before has it been clearer than in her delivery of this song. No matter how you convince yourself that you’ve forgotten and you’ve moved on with your life, one lyric can catapult you right back into that moment.

“It was like a lighted match had been tossed into my soul, it was like a dam had broken in my heart”. Though you may have burned your bridges to never go onto what might have been the song can always take you back for that one moment in time. “For even if the whole world has forgotten, the song remembers when.”

“Try Me Again”
Real Live Woman, 200

Linda Ronstadt, Yearwood’s biggest influence, co-wrote this song with Andrew Gold and included it on her 1976 album Hasten Down the Wind. Yearwood’s faithful cover starts off with a touch of innocence in her voice. “Well, I drove past your house last night and I looked in your window. Lately I aint been feeling right, and I don’t know the cure, no.” It’s a feeling that a union ended too early, and you just can’t accept the reasons why, leaving you stunned and lost. The innocence in Yearwood’s voice shifts to desperation as she rips into the final chorus of the song, begging her former love to “Try Me Again.”

“I Would’ve Loved You Anyway”
Inside Out, 2001

When you lose someone to death, it’s a permanent loss that you will never get back. The pain and the sorrow leave a bottomless gap in your soul that never quite heals, yet you would not trade one moment of time with that person for a second of peace. Even if you did know the way things would end, and the pain you would have went through, you would have done it exactly the same.

“When a Love Song Sings the Blues”
Real Live Woman, 2000

She enters a dark room to visit an old friend and there in the darkness he waits. “I see you waiting in the shadows, wondering where I’ve been. Dusty old piano it’s you and me again, my old friend.” She brings to life this instrument in a sorrowful lament in the loss of love and the methods of healing.

The cheerful melodies of the past don’t seem to flow as well, now that he’s gone. Examples of “Faded Love” and “Born To Lose” are mentioned as if to emphasize her point. She feels her story, her experiences are so sad and so heartbreaking that the only way she can release these feelings is through the power of music, the only constant relationship she has had thus far.

If you are interested in writing a guest post for Country Universe, send an e-mail to kevin@countryuniverse.net


  1. This confirms it: I need to expand my Yearwood collection. I only have her two latest studio albums, but I want her studio albums, not her greatest hits, and stores only have her greatest hits now…

    Anyway, great list, amazing job!

  2. May I suggest “Real Live Woman” Chris? It is a excellent album and my personal favorite. But really you wont go wrong with any of your choices

  3. Cory,
    Thanks for sharing your favorite Yearwood songs and the wonderful story about Trisha and your grandmother.

    I’m inspired to go back and listen to my Yearwood collection now.

    Up until recently, I never appreciated female country singers too much. However, Trisha Yearwood was one of the few that I’ve loved from the very beginning.

  4. Chris, I hope you like the Yearwood albums that you’ve ordered. Unfortunately, Inside Out is probably my least favorite of her albums. So, if you like it, cool. But if you don’t…

  5. Cory, this is a terrific feature. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your grandmother, but also happy to know that you were able to share such great times together. Although my list would be different, I know we can both agree that selecting a “best-of” for an artist such as Yearwood is a terribly difficult task. Country music is richer for not only her artistry, but for her tremendous compassion and commitment to her fans, as you reminded us tonight. Thanks again, Cory!

    1. “Dreaming Fields,” Matraca Berg & Gary Harrison
    2. “The Song Remembers When,” Hugh Prestwood
    3. “Where Are You Now,” Kim Richey & Mary Chapin Carpenter
    4. “On a Bus to St. Cloud,” Gretchen Peters
    5. “I Don’t Paint Myself Into Corners,” Rebecca Lynn Howard & Trey Bruce
    6. “Melancholy Blue,” Harlan Howard & Tommy Douglas
    7. “This Is Me You’re Talking To,” Tommy Lee James & Karyn Rochelle
    8. “Real Live Woman,” Bobbie Cryner
    9. “Wrong Side of Memphis,” Matraca Berg & Gary Harrison
    10. “Let the Wind Chase You,” Sallie Burris & Karyn Rochelle

    P.S. Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love would be my first choice album, followed by Hearts in Armor and Real Live Woman. After RLW, what are your next personal favorites?

  6. Great list! I have been a fan of Trisha’s since (as she used to say) she had only a “greatest HIT”. I saw her years ago when she played the Buckboard in Marietta, GA. Good times!
    I have also met her many times since and she has always been so incredibly down to earth and as friendly as could be.
    There must be something in that Okie water cuz her and Garth can recall names and faces and stories like no one I’ve ever known!
    While Trisha may not reign in the hits or the awards as she once did, she is definitely a mainstay in country music and THAT is truly the greater reward.

  7. Love Trisha and great list. I am really liking her Hearts in Armor cd lately. It’s my favorite so far, but I’m still working on my collection.

  8. You captured so many of my favorites on this list! She’s one of those artists that has so many excellent songs and performances that it’s hard to narrow them down.

    My top ten:

    1. Heart’s in Armor
    2. I Don’t Paint Myself into Corners
    3. Where Are You Now
    4. Woman Walk the Line
    5. This is Me You’re Talking To
    6. Two Days From Knowing
    7. Try Me
    8. The Song Remembers When
    9. It Wasn’t His Child
    10. To Make You Feel My Love

    Top Albums:
    1. Hearts in Armor
    2. Real Live Woman
    3. Thinkin’ About You
    4. Heaven, Heartache, and the Power of Love
    5. Everybody Knows

  9. Blake,

    Wow my favorite albums….thats a tough one!
    Top Albums-
    1. Real Live Woman
    2. Hearts In Armor
    3. Everybody Knows
    4.Heaven Heartache and the Power of Love
    5. Song Remembers When

    Song Remembers When isnt the best on alot of people’s list and it may not flow the most smoothly. But it has so many songs on it I cant get enough of….”Nightengale” “Lying to the Moon” “Here Comes Temptation” there are alot on the album. “Think About You” and “Everybody Knows” would be tied for 6th

  10. That was a great story I only have one Trisha album but my ipod is filled, maybe I’ll look into putting her whole collection on there.


  11. Hi Cory,

    I’ve always felt Trisha Yearwood was severely underrated and overshadowed by flashier female vocalists. Thanks for sharing your list (great idea!) and the sweet story about your grandmother.

    Yeah, I never particularly cared for Where Your Road Leads either but after reading this I’m now inspired to go pick up Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love. It’s the only album of hers that I don’t own. Thanks again! :)

    Here are mine (I cheated; lets just call 26, 27 and 28 a tie with 25):
    28. In Another’s Eyes (with Garth Brooks)
    27. Georgia Rain
    26. There Goes My Baby
    25. You Don’t Have To Move That Mountain
    24. Seven Year Ache (with Rosanne Cash)
    23. To Make You Feel My Love (from Hope Floats)
    22. Who Invented the Wheel
    21. Woman Walk the Line (with Emmylou Harris)
    20. I Need You
    19. The Song Remembers When
    18. How Do I Live
    17. This Is Me You’re Talking To
    16. Fairytale
    15. Take a Walk Through Bethlehem
    14. Real Live Woman
    13. The Restless Kind
    12. You Can Sleep While I Drive
    11. The Whisper of Your Heart
    10. Better Your Heart Than Mine
    09. Trying To Love You
    08. Victim of the Game
    07. Fools Like Me
    06. Under the Rainbow
    05. Little Hercules
    04. Lying to the Moon
    03. Where Are You Now
    02. I Don’t Paint Myself Into Corners
    01. On a Bus to St. Cloud

    Top Albums:
    05. Hearts In Armor
    04. Trisha Yearwood
    03. Everybody Knows
    02. Thinkin’ About You
    01. The Song Remembers When

  12. Blake It took me quite a few days just to decide on the songs! I really wanted though to highlight songs people may look over in her catalog like “When a Love Song Sings the Blues” I love the songs she choices to end her albums, perfection.

  13. As far as personal preference is concerned- Reba is my favorite country singer…however, I do not think there is a finer vocalist in ANY field of music than Trisha Yearwood. Her delivery of any song she takes on is pretty much flawless. Even as many times as I’ve heard her version of “How Do I Live”, I still get chills when I hear her sing the bridge.

    I think her finest vocal performance is “On A Bus To St. Cloud”, so I’m really happy that made this list. When she sings “you chase me like a shadow/ and you haunt me like a ghost/ and I hate you some/ and i love you some/ but i miss you most”. It absolutely breaks my heart. You couldn’t ask for more from country music than that.

    The only Yearwood tracks that didn’t make your list that I thought deserved mention were:

    her cover of “You Can Sleep While I Drive”- which might not have been a huge hit, but would still make my list of the finest country tracks of the nineties

    Perfect Love- which is one of the realest, sweetest love songs that country ever turned out. “We’re not tryin to make history, it’s just you and me in a perfect love”

    and I Need You – It didn’t have the chart impact of the first 2 singles from Everybody Knows…but you can actually hear the heartbreak in her voice when she sings “i need that boy, the one who chose me over every other choice”. She’s almost Tammy Wynette-ish in the pain she can convey in her delivery.

    I love that yall did this Yearwood feature, she’s been one of the most consistantly solid artists in country music from the release of her first album up til now…and I don’t think she gets the props she’s due from the mainstream country world…she’s a proven, steady hit-maker, yet she always seems to get the shaft when the media start listing country’s brightest talents.

  14. With respect to “Try Me Again”, I think Trisha considers that song practically sacred in a lot of ways, since it is one of only three songs that Linda ever wrote (the other two being the title track of her 1993 album “Winter Light”, and the Mexican-influenced 1976 ballad “Lo Siento Mi Vida”). Linda herself reportedly expressed her admiration for Trisha’s version by claiming that Trisha’s version was better than Linda’s own, to which Trisha supposedly replied, humorously, “That’s impossible. I stole from you.”

    Trisha has probably been accused on more than a few occasions of trying to be like Linda, though I think such a pipe dream, regardless of what anyone else believes, is quite impossible. But in my humble opinion, she probably embodies the classic 1970s country-rock sound of Linda better than any other female singer on Music Row, past or present.

  15. When I got the chance to write this review, I had to get my hands on this video so i could get it onto youtube for all the readers to see, I cant find the words to describe Trisha’s live performance of “Try Me Again” here, Mr. Bailey, Ms Flemming, and Ms Hampton do a fine job on backing vocals as well!

  16. Hey Kevin or someone, could you add this and the K.T. Oslin thread into the features section of the site please? Thanks!

  17. It’s funny how time changes things, this list changes on what seems like a weekly basis for me. My top ten now would be
    10.Song Remembers When
    9.Im Still Alive
    8.Hearts In Armor
    7.You Dont Have To Move that Mountain
    6.XXXs and OOOs
    5.When a Love Song Sings the Blues
    4.Bus To St Cloud
    3.Where Are You Now
    2.Try Me Again
    1. I Dont Paint Myself Into Corners

    With honorable mentions to “Here Comes Temptation” and the LIVE version of “Wrong Side Of Memphis”

  18. It is to bad Trisha didn’t release “Try Me Again” as a single, I think it might have had a real good chance of being one of her biggest hits. I am still holding out for Trisha getting Linda to sing with her, or even better, singing and producing and album for her. Linda is an excellent record producer. At 63, time is running out. Linda is almost retired. Linda has produced albums for

    Jimmy Webb
    David Lindley
    Aaron Neville
    and a almost unknown country artist that goes be the name Teresa.

  19. With a catalog like Trisha’s 25 is saying alot! There are far too many great songs!
    I finally got back on youtube, not my favorite song, but one of my favorite performances from Trisha!

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