Tricia Yearwood will take the stage at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on October 13. For Tricia, its like coming home.
“For me, playing in Atlanta is like coming home,” she says. “I haven’t toured in five years, and to be doing this handful of dates, I just can’t imagine not playing in Atlanta.”
“I’m so excited about this show, and I know I better make it good because half of the audience is going to be my friends and family.
“My sister still lives in Georgia, and we have such a strong connection to where we grew up. Whenever I go back, everybody supports everything I do.”
Atlanta is a special town for Yearwood, who hails from Monticello, the seat of Jasper County about 60 miles south of Atlanta on the edge of the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge.
“I remember I was 16 when I first saw Linda Ronstadt sing at the Fox Theatre,” Yearwood recalls. “I sat in the balcony and knew right then that this was what I wanted to be. That hasn’t changed over the years.”
Linda Ronstadt remains one of her greatest musical influences, she says, along with the great Patsy Cline – two women with powerful voices that don’t shy away from raw emotion.
“Linda had these big, strong vocals, and I always wanted to become that singer,” Yearwood says. “I channeled that as a 14- or 15-year-old, playing piano at home, trying to sing along and hit the high notes. I couldn’t do it then, but I just kept at it.”
“The thing about Linda Ronstadt that I always admired was the variety of her musical choices and how she let her emotions through in her singing. She and Patsy are like that. You can hear them crying, hear them take a breath, and that makes it all real. That’s how I wanted to sing.”
Ronstadt’s music led her to other strong female vocalists like Emmy Lou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, and Karla Bonoff. Yearwood was eventually able to meet, perform with, and even form friendships with these women.
Her new album, Every Girl, includes Bonoff’s contemplative song “Home.”
“I had asked her if she had written anything new, and she suggested I record ‘Home.’ I did my own take on it, nervously sent it to her, and got her seal of approval,” Yearwood said.
And then there’s Cher.
“I love Cher!” she says, laughing. “I’m such a fan.” Before releasing Every Girl, Yearwood recorded an homage to Frank Sinatra and the Great American Songbook, Let’s Be Frank, in 2019.
She performed signature Sinatra tunes like “Come Fly with Me,” “One for My Baby (And One More for the Road),” and “I’ll Be Seeing You.”
But Every Girl signals a return to her big country-sound roots, beginning with “Every Girl in Town,” the single she released in June that debuted at No. 21 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart.
Every Girl on Tour supports the new studio album, which is Yearwood’s 14th. Every Girl includes collaborations with marquee names like Kelly Clarkson, Patty Loveless, Don Henley, and somebody else. What was that guy’s name? Oh, yeah, her husband. Garth Brooks.
Brooks is featured on the album’s cut “What Gave Me Away” but don’t look for him in the backing vocals at the show. “I’ve toured with him, but I can fly under the radar easier than he can,” she says. “So, he’ll just stay home and do the laundry.”
Along with handling laundry chores, Brooks is Yearwood’s writing partner. “I know how to tell a story but he’s the poet,” she says. “My best writing happens when he and I sit together, we have a conversation, and he writes it down.”
One thing Yearwood’s fans can count on during the concert is hearing lots of her hits along with the new material. Unlike musicians who grow tired of playing their best-known songs, Yearwood is right there with the fans who want to hear the hits.
“When I go to a concert, I want to hear the songs that made them famous, the ones we can all sing along to,” she says. “I don’t want to go to a show where all you hear is new material. I can’t imagine doing a show without doing the hits.”
That means “She’s in Love with the Boy,” the 1991 No. 1 song that made her a household name, is on the concert playlist for sure. Yearwood expresses gratitude that “Every Girl in This Town” made such a big hit when it launched. “I was so surprised by the success of Every Girl,” she says. “I was not expecting it after several years off the radio.”
Not that she spent those years just walking the dogs at her home near Nashville. Yearwood is working on the 15th season of her Emmy-winning Food Network cooking show, “Trish’s Southern Kitchen” and will produce the accompanying cookbook after the tour winds down.
“The show came out of writing a book (Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen) with my mother, Gwen, and my sister, Beth,” she says. “It was a place to get all of my family recipes in one place. I certainly didn’t intend for it to become a New York Times No. 1 best seller, which lead to the cooking show.
“It has been a wild ride ever since. But since both of my parents have passed, the show has become a way for Beth and me to keep our parents with us. Food and family go hand in hand for us.”
One episode was even a Cher tribute show, complete with wigs and glitter and foods like “The Beat Goes On” sandwiches made with golden beets. Yearwood has three more cookbooks to her credit along with a line of housewares, home furnishings, and prepared foods.
She also has a string of dramatic television credits, including a recurring role on “JAG” from 1997 to 2002. About the only entertainment box Yearwood hasn’t checked is a Broadway show – yet.
“Broadway is something I’ve talked about, and I have been approached to fill in on Broadway in a 12-week run. I don’t really have three months to carve out right now, but it’s something I would love to do in the future.”
Broadway folks – the ball’s in your court.