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Trisha Yearwood

Real Live Woman – 2000 (MCA)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Trisha Yearwood

After a tumultuous year on the love front, Trisha Yearwood does not shy away whatsoever from songs about that very subject. Matter of fact, every song on the ninth album for Yearwood, who divorced Robert Reynolds of The Mavericks last year, is about love. The songs cover both sides of the love spectrum - longing for it and glad it's over (On the mandolin-spiced "You Made Me Love You So Bad," Yearwood sings that refrain, followed by "too bad you're no good.")

Co-producing with long-time producer Garth Fundis, the focus is certainly on Yearwood's strong vocals. Yearwood infuses the songs with the requisite emotion without sounding overblown either vocally or musically. It would have been easy for Yearwood to go torch song mode time and again, but fortunately she varies it. Bobbie Cryner's title track, however, finds Yearwood still capable of belting it out.And while this isn't a straight country album - though that is definitely part of the mix - Yearwood opts for the spare approach.

What makes this album even stronger is the song selection. Bruce Springsteen's "Sad Eyes," three from Matraca Berg (all with different co-writers, including Harlan Howard), "I'm Still Alive," "Come Back When It Ain't Rainin'," and "When a Love Song Sings the Blues" and the Kim Richey/Mary Chapin Carpenter lead-off "Where Are You Now" all shine.

This may be what separates Yearwood from other country singers. Not only does she have the voice without abusing and overusing, she has the songs. And even in love gone good and bad, that's a winner.