6. Trisha Yearwood // Hearts in Armor
Her velvety-smooth voice instilled country with an approach and delivery not often experienced ⎯⎯ which could move mountains in the process. One of her signature hits, the incisive and gutting ballad “Walkaway Joe,” is quite an indication of the album’s overall tone and artistic stamp. The bluesy rumble of “You Say You Will,” the slow two-stepper “Woman Walk the Line” (and if you pay close enough attention, you’ll hear Emmylou Harris’ soft but assertive harmony) and “Wrong Side of Memphis” were and are transcendent. Every aspiring performer owes a large part of their ability to even pursue a career in music to Yearwood’s resilience and willingness to showcase raw nerve and shoulder the emotional burden across a meager 10 songs.