Personnel: Faith Hill (vocals, hand claps); Shelby Lynne (vocals); Billy Joe Walker, Jr., Tom Rutledge (acoustic guitar); Michael Spriggs (acoustic guitar, hand claps); Dann Huff, Lou Toomey (electric guitar); Brent Mason (electric guitar, hand claps); Gary Carter (steel guitar); Dan Dugmore (steel guitar, lap steel guitar); Paul Franklin (steel guitar, hand claps); Rob Hajacos (fiddle); Matt Rollings, John Hobbs, Elaine Krisle (piano); Reese Wynans (piano, B-3 organ); John Hobbs (B-3 organ); Carl Marsh (synthesizer); Bill Cuomo (synthesizer, hand claps); Anthony Joyner (bass); Glenn Worf (bass, hand claps); Trey Gray (drums); Lonnie Wilson (drums, hand claps); Marks Capps, Darrell Franklin, Scott Hendricks, Michelle Perry (hand claps); Ashley Cleveland, Lisa Gregg, Steve Hornbeak, Robert Johnson, Wendell Mobley, Pam Rose, Karen Staley, Harry Stinson, Russ Taff, Cindy Richardson Walker, Dennis Wilson (background vocals).
Recorded at Soundshop Recording Studios, Nashville, Tennessee.
There's nothing on IT MATTERS TO ME as brash as her country take on the rock classic "Piece Of My Heart." Otherwise, Faith Hill's second album sounds like her first--twangy country with working-class heart, a sassy voice reminiscent of Loretta Lynn, and a sense of social relevance learned from Reba McEntire. Best of all, Hill still cuts across a range of styles, refusing to be tied down to any one of the sub-genres her influences might suggest.
"Bed Of Roses" and "You Will Be Mine" are assertive and rocking numbers about, respectively, keeping a lothario at bay and chasing a guy who's too shy to make the first move. On them, Hill's big southern voice is matched by jangling electric guitars that wouldn't be out of place on a Bruce Springsteen album. When it opens, "A Man's Home Is His Castle" could, in fact, be a piano ballad about one of Springsteen's heroic blue-collar losers, but as it swells into a studio pop arrangement, it turns out this particular loser is an abused wife who's about to buy a gun; this is the kind of reality that doesn't impose itself on mainstream country albums too often. "A Room In My Heart," on the other hand, shows an affinity for classic country-pop balladry with its beautifully slow chorus.
"Let's Go To Vegas" is a quickie wedding proposal, which--depending on who's making it--could be the kind of mistake that'll get you into a mid-life crisis before you're 25, or the kind of crazy hunch that could snap you right out of one. So far in her bright career, Faith Hill has shown the kind of clearheadedness and surefootedness that if she asked you, you'd be a fool not to take the chance.
Personnel: Faith Hill (vocals).
Faith Hill's second album, IT MATTERS TO ME, continues the successful inroads of her debut. Country purists may dismiss Hill out of hand for her glamorous good looks and her crossover commercial appeal, but the fine material and performances here prove that she is an artist of substance. The pop sensibility underlying this collection of tunes enhances rather than detracts, and proves again that country can be as catchy and accessible as anything on mainstream radio.
The album's two singles, the love ballad "It Matters to Me" and the buoyant "Let's Go to Vegas," are highlights, but the rest of the album matches up in quality, with folksy reflections on home and family ("Someone Else's Dream"), gospel-inflected boogie ("Keep Walkin' On"), and full-on power ballads ("A Man's Home is His Castle"). Hill's supple voice is well-suited to each style, giving this sharp, polished pop-country effort a sense of unity.