Can’t live without her

Yearwood means a lot to many—in an interesting way

IS THAT MYLES IN THE BACKGROUND? <br>Trisha Yearwood and the “Trisha Troopers” come out to Gold Country Casino for a night of country classics.

Trisha Yearwood and the “Trisha Troopers” come out to Gold Country Casino for a night of country classics.

Courtesy Of William Morris Agency

Country singer Trisha Yearwood is popular. So popular that a segment of her fanbase dubbed the “Trisha Troopers” actually compete to see who can attend the most shows each year. (In case you’re wondering, it takes a minimum of two shows attended per year to qualify as a Trooper.)

In fact, Yearwood is so popular that a self-professed “Yearwoodhead” named Myles has a fan site in her honor that leads off with a photo of the 41-year-old blonde superstar next to, in very large letters, a heading asking the big question for this fiercely devoted fan, “How Do I Live Without Patricia Lynn Yearwood?”

Yearwood is so adored in her hometown of Monticello, Ga., that one of its main streets is now named Trisha Yearwood Parkway.

And Yearwood is so friggin’ famous that unless I were, I guess, maybe Barbara Walters or NPR’s Terry Gross (in other words, unless I were the journalistic equivalent of what Yearwood is to country music) I could not possibly be granted an interview with her.

And I wasn’t. After almost a week of back-and-forth e-mails between her publicist and myself—trying to get an interview with Yearwood, then maybe with her manager or a member of her band, somebody, anybody in the Yearwood camp—the publicist finally told me that it just wasn’t going to happen. Instead, she told me, I should consult the thick press kit she had just overnighted me—loaded with articles from publications such as Country Weekly, People Magazine, The Chicago Tribune and the UK’s Maverick—for any info I might need.

I understood. And I’m really not resentful. The woman deserves her props.

Yearwood has a fabulous, pure, country voice. Some compare her to her idol Linda Ronstadt, and that’s high praise.

She’s also pretty. And, in case you were one of the few who missed the proposal of 2005, last May fellow country superstar Garth Brooks (who, by the way, also has a street named after him: Garth Brooks Boulevard in Yukon, Okla.) got down on one knee in front of 7,000 fansat a statue unveiling at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace in Bakersfield and asked Yearwood to marry him.

She’s definitely on a roll. After a four-year long, self-imposed hiatus from the music business, she’s back on tour and she’s got a new album out—Jasper County, a tribute to her home turf in Georgia.

Jasper County is a country music lover’s dream, full of good songs that touch on emotions the way good country songs should. “Who Invented the Wheel” is a powerful, righteously upset sort of tune that finds Yearwood in the persona of a woman who lost a loved one in a car wreck. And “Trying To Love You” is the quintessential country tearjerker ballad: “Trying to love you/ I’ve screamed your name, I’ve slammed a thousand doors/ Trying to love you/ And I’ve worn a million miles across the floor/ Trying to love you/ Still I could not ignore/ Trying to love you.”

Yearwood delivers the slow, heart-tugging tunes with just the right amount of passion and sensitivity in her voice, and brassily belts out the rockers with controlled abandon. If her show is anything like her latest album, Yearwood should have the audience alternately dancing in their seats and crying in their beer.