If Garth Brooks stands to reign as the King of Country Comebacks in 2014 and 2015, his better half, Trisha Yearwood, stands to reign as the queen. A little more than a month after Brooks announced he's coming out of retirement this fall with a tour and album, Yearwood announced she'll release PrizeFighter, her 12th studio album, and her first since 2007's Grammy-nominated Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love. Like her husband, Yearwood also cut a deal with Sony Music Nashville/RCA Records.
"No one delivers a song with not only emotion, but a truly amazing voice — an angelic voice — there's a big hole in country radio in a lot of fans' hearts that are waiting for that voice to come back," the label's CEO and chairman, Gary Overton, said of Yearwood Tuesday evening at a swanky Nashville press conference.
"It's been 23 years since that first single ["She's in Love With the Boy"] and I'm just not ready to stop swinging the bat," Yearwood, who turns 50 in September, told the crowd of media members and Music Row insiders. She compared her career to that of a professional baseball player when she signed her first record deal nearly a quarter-century ago. Clearly she's exceeded such wide-eyed expectations of longevity, or the lack thereof.
Then Yearwood, accompanied by an acoustic guitarist and keyboardist, handily delivered a stripped-down, 20-minute set as attendees listened intently and munched on hors d'oeuvres cooked up from recipes culled from Yearwood's own best-selling cookbooks. Book-ended by a pair of back-catalog favorites — Heaven/Heartache's easygoing, bouncy blues "Cowboys Are My Weakness" and her 1992 chart-topper "Wrong Side of Memphis" — the four-song set featured two PrizeFighter tunes. (Though neither was the title track, which she described as a song about "beating the odds, and winning, and fighting no matter what.")
The first, "Your Husband Is Cheating on Us," is a murderously playful, Matraca Berg- and Marshall Chapman-written tale of two jilted lovers teaming up to take down one serial cheatin’ man. "I loved it so much, and it's so wrong," she said of the song. The second was a reflective ballad titled "I Remember You." She dedicated it to her mother, cookbook co-writer Gwen Yearwood, who died of cancer in 2011 — the singer said she lives on in every recipe, piece of cookware and tune she is putting out now.
As for eats, well, there's news in that department as well. It was also announced that Yearwood — who has spent her years away from the studio building her brand as a cuisinier — has a new cookbook. Trisha's Table, her third, will hit shelves and tablets in April 2015. Meanwhile, her Emmy-winning cooking show, Trisha's Southern Kitchen, returns for its fifth season on the Food Network, August 23rd. A line of Precious Metals cookware and cutlery is also on the horizon as well.
And so is the road. Yearwood will appear with hubby Brooks at each of the 18 so-far-announced dates on his upcoming comeback tour, which kicks off in Chicago September 4th before moving on to Atlanta September 19th. PrizeFighter’s release date is still TBA.
"I'm forgetting to, like, brush my teeth at this point — there's a lot going on," Yearwood joked at one point, making light of the full plate she now has.
-By Adam Gold