PrizeFighter – Hit After Hit
is the first album from Trisha since her 2007’s Grammy-nominated “Heaven Heartache and the Power of Love.” ” It’s a song on the album that is about beating the odds and winning and fighting no matter what,” Yearwood said of the album’s title track. “I think it’s a message we all need to hear.”
Yearwood’s latest album, “Prizefighter: Hit After Hit,” features a mixture of re-recorded and new songs. In addition to a new album, she’s touring with husband Garth Brooks and working on the next season of her Food Network cooking show.
BUY TRISHA YEARWOOD’S NEW RELEASE – PRIZEFIGHTER
Article from The Tennessean by Cindy Watts
When Trisha Yearwood turned 50 in September, husband Garth Brooks surprised her during a concert with a birthday cake shaped like her home state of Georgia. Off stage, without telling her, Brooks flew Yearwood’s sister Beth Bernard into Nashville to record the backing vocals on “I Remember You,” one of the songs from Yearwood’s new album, “PrizeFighter: Hit After Hit.”
The song reminds Yearwood of her mother, Gwen, who died from breast cancer in 2011.
“(Brooks) was saying, ‘You need to listen to that vocal,’ ” Yearwood recalled. “I was like, ‘I’ve listened to it. Why is my husband giving me all this grief about listening to this mix?’ Then I realized why. When he played it for me, it took me a second. I knew it was my sister’s voice … but I couldn’t figure out how was that her. It was so overwhelming because it’s such an emotional song anyway. I don’t know how many times I’ll have to hear it before I won’t cry when I hear it.”
Since Yearwood’s milestone birthday, Yearwood said people keep asking her if turning 50 was “weird.” Her response: “You don’t have any clue. My life is so awesome.”
Brooks is responsible for a part of her happiness — the couple launched a world tour together this fall. But 2014 has also been kind to Yearwood. She launched her first tour in five years in the spring, Yearwood’s Food Network cooking show, “Trisha’s Southern Kitchen,” is in its fifth season, she just completed her third cookbook “Trisha’s Table,” and her first new album in seven years, “PrizeFighter: Hit After Hit,” releases Monday.
“PrizeFighter” is 16 songs — six new songs and 10 of Yearwood’s biggest hits. The new songs include the title track, which she performs with Kelly Clarkson, story songs such as Rory Feek and Jamie Teachenor’s “Met Him in a Motel Room,” Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne and Trevor Rosen’s heartbreak ballad “End of the World” and Matraca Berg, Marshall Chapman and Jill McCorkle’s bluesy “Your Husband’s Cheatin’ on Us.”
Berg has three songs on “PrizeFighter.” In addition to writing “Your Husband’s Cheatin’ on Us,” she also co-wrote Yearwood’s hits “Wrong Side of Memphis” and “XXX’s and OOO’s.”
“Trisha has a remarkable ear for songs,” Berg said. “I think this new batch just continues her story. She’s the voice of a generation and absolutely one of our greatest singers of the last 30 years. I think it’s really cool that she shows this body of her work. She’s stronger than ever.”
Feek said he wrote “Met Him In A Motel Room,” Yearwood’s first Christian-leaning song outside of her Christmas album, with Teachenor in 2006. The men start their writing appointments with the first line and then see where it takes them.
“So when we sat at his piano and first said, ‘She met him in a motel room in the shady part of town’… we were both intrigued and wondered what story was getting ready to unfold,” Feek said. “When the song was complete, both Jamie and I were moved to tears by where that first line and the woman in the story led us. It’s a special story of a woman finding God in the most unusual of places. I have always hoped it would have the chance to be heard.”
Because so many singers prefer to write their own songs, Yearwood said there’s “lots of great, great songs sitting around Nashville that people aren’t recording.” Because she considers herself more of an interpreter than a songwriter, there were no limits in which songs she chose.
“I’m not like, ‘Oh my gosh, I don’t know if this is going to get played on the radio,'” Yearwood said. “That’s not why I record songs. I want them to get played on the radio, but they have to speak to me somehow. I love these songs and they are the ones that just stay with you.”
Wade Jessen, senior chart manager in Nashville, said Yearwood’s approach to song selection on her album was spot-on and that he thinks “she’s in a great place to be doing exactly what she wants, and that should include making records that make her happy.”
Yearwood recognizes the album was a long time coming for fans. She started the project more than four years ago but had to put it aside after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and started getting sick.
“I thought we were at the place where people just don’t die of breast cancer anymore,” Yearwood said. “But, they do. I’ve lost several people to breast cancer. I guess when she was diagnosed in my head I thought, ‘OK, she has cancer, but it’s breast cancer.’ It was caught early, but it was just really aggressive.”
Yearwood moved in with her mother in Georgia after her mother decided to stop treatment. At the time, she thought her mother had about a week to live. But after she stopped chemotherapy, Gwen Yearwood started feeling better. The singer, her mother and her sister had two months of “good time” before Gwen Yearwood passed away in October 2011.
“It was a hard time, but we have great memories of that time,” Yearwood said of her mother’s final weeks. “There was a lot of laughter. My mom was the most graceful sick person I’ve ever met in my life. She made it easy for us, which if I was her I wouldn’t have cared about anybody else. Then after she died, I just didn’t really want to do it. It took a while. The cooking show was the thing that got me out of my own way.”
Yearwood had already committed to filming the cooking show before her mother died and had to fulfill the obligation. When she got started, she realized the show was a tribute to her mother who had taught her to cook.
“It was like she and my dad were there (filming the show),” Yearwood said. “It became the way out of the tunnel. Everybody grieves in their own way, and for me I had two really awesome parents. I get that this is the way that life is, but I just really miss them. For me it’s a way to honor them, and that started that ball rolling again.”
By the time she was ready to go back into the studio, Yearwood’s album had been in progress for years. She started second-guessing herself on song selections and even got help from Brooks on which songs to record, although she calls that a “slippery slope” because they live in the same house.
“But it’s good because we have different approaches,” she said.
When she heard her new single, “PrizeFighter,” it helped her put her music back into perspective. The song reminded her of her mother. And Yearwood thought it sounded like her, too.
“It was like, ‘OK, I’m a woman, I’m 50,'” she said. “The odds are totally against me. It’s totally empowering. It’s an anthem. And I’m not an anthem-recording girl, although I think I’ve recorded songs that hopefully empower women. That song is what lit the fire.”
Jessen thinks “PrizeFighter” might be a “surprising story in terms of sales” because even though Yearwood doesn’t have a smash radio hit to help her sell albums, he said she’s a brand now and someone who has made “a lot of friends with her television and books.”
“I think people have a real sense of who I am,” Yearwood said. “They feel like they know me, and really kind of they do.”
Reach Cindy Watts at 615-664-2227 or on Twitter at @CindyNWatts.