Picks and Pans Review: Hearts in Armor

updated 11/02/1992 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/02/1992 01:00AM

Trisha Yearwood

One of these days some movie producer will show enough sense to commission a musical western starring Garth Brooks. Garth, of course, will play the sheriff. Clint Black will be his boyhood friend turned local gambler and bad guy gunslinger, while Holly Dunn will be Black's sister, the pristinely beautiful schoolmarm Garth loves. (Willie Nelson is the alcoholic preacher, Ralph Emory the newspaper editor, Bruce Springsteen the fast gun from the East.) The madam who gets to sing and, if the producer is smart, write the songs is K.T. Oslin. But the dance-hall girl with the heart of gold has to be the wholesome-but-sensuous Yearwood.

Yearwood's second big-label album shows just that combination of suggestive and fresh-faced songs by a variety of writers. There's the bluesy "The Wrong Side of Memphis," the neo-feminist "Woman Walk the Line" by Emmylou Harris and Paul Kennerley, the abjectly romantic "Down on My Knees," the thoughtful "For Reasons I've Forgotten," the wounded-woman treatise "Walkaway Joe" and the title tune, about romantic reservations.

That hypothetical movie would be full of duets, but Yearwood has to settle here for mere harmonizing by Harris, Brooks, Don Henley and Vince Gill. Then again, her throaty voice sounds fine on its own. Anyone who expected Yearwood to fade from the level of her debut album last year should be prepared to pay off a few bets. (MCA)

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