Trisha Yearwood is the kind of artist that can easily befuddle people. Is she a country singer, a pop balladeer or a rock belter?
The answer: Who cares?
On Sunday at the Greek Theatre, the Georgia-born 35-year-old gave a musically holistic performance that makes categorization deliciously irrelevant.
Whether it was the spunky country charm of "She's in Love With the Boy," the expansive pop of "How Do I Live" or the soulful rock power of "The Wrong Side of Memphis," Yearwood brought unflagging intelligence and heart to what she sang; two qualities that render other labels meaningless.
Her first tour in three years emphasizes her meaty new "Real Live Woman" album, and she opened with the leadoff track, "Where Are You Now," a Kim Richey-Mary Chapin Carpenter song that explores the complexities and ambiguities of a real-life breakup. It's rich in emotional shadings all too rare in the black-and-white world of mainstream country.
Backed by a superb five-man band and three backup singers, Yearwood rejected all stage flash and put her money where it counted: in real, live music.
Her opening act, the Academy of Country Music's recent new female vocalist honoree Jessica Andrews, is yet another young teen singer out of Nashville. While her inexperience as a performer is apparent, she has a rich, dusky voice capable of considerable soulfulness for one barely old enough to drive. On her debut album and on stage, she vacillates between an enticing gospel-funk-country hybrid and innocuous pop balladry.