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Review: Trisha Yearwood whets our appetite

Yes, Trisha, you need to get out of the house more. You're welcome here anytime.

Trisha Yearwood opened her show Wednesday night - her first concert tour in five years - by telling the audience, "I just needed to get out of the house and sing some songs."

Yearwood, the wife of Garth Brooks, notes that her megastar husband is headed back out on tour after almost a decade at home, and she wanted to do some performing before all that madness sets in. So Wednesday night's show at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts was the first of 23 stops in settings she says are her favorites - more intimate concert-like venues where people act nice and no one is spilling beer. This stop also was convenient because Yearwood, author of two cookbooks and host of a show on The Food Network, is here for a stint at South Beach Wine and Food Festival.

The Broward Center was about half-full and just before Yearwood came on, ushers encouraged those in the upper seats to go ahead and move on down, filling up the first bottom section. The non-packed house seemed fine with Yearwood, who thanked the fans four times for coming and repeatedly referenced her insecurities onstage, hot flashes and her rust angst.

"I'm just about to throw up right now," she said at the start.

OK, let's talk about the music. The obvious point is this: She's a wonderful singer. I'm not going to pretend I'm some vocal expert but in layman's terms, I'll say every note mattters to her, and her styling makes the soft stuff tender and the louder stuff powerful. She also can get from zero to 60 instantaneously when she wants the big note.

Of course, she sang her own hits, including "She's in Love with the Boy," "The Song Remembers When," "XXX's and OOO's (An American Girl)" and "Perfect Girl." She also talked about loving Linda Rondstadt while growing up in Georgia, and how she was "devastated" upon hearing of Ronstadt's being crippled by Parkinson's Disease. So she sang "When Will I Be Loved," and "Blue Bayou," and, later, "You're No Good." But we also got "Midnight Train to Georgia" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

Yearwood, 49, could almost sleepwalk her way through her career (in fact, she really doesn't even need a "career"), charming audiences across the country with her personality and becoming a favorite at a place like Las Vegas, the casino circuit or Branson. And no one could blame her for that.

But I'd like to suggest another option: She says she has an album "half-done," and, understandably it was not a priority as she cared for her mother, who died of cancer in October 2011. You can use the "she owes it to her fans" argument to coax her into completing that album, but the better tack might be that we're all put here on Earth to make the most of whatever talent we have. So perhaps the greater point is she owes it to herself.

Maybe this tour is what she needs. Wednesday night was nice, but we'd like to hear that album.

Because as someone she knows very well once sang: Life is not tried, it is merely survived,
if you're standing outside the fire.



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