Personnel: LeAnn Rimes (vocals); Johnny Mulhair (acoustic, electric & steel guitars); Jerry Matheny (electric guitar); Milo Deering (steel guitar); Chuck Rippey (fiddle); Whitney Mulhair (flute); Jimmy Kelly, Kelly Glenn, Mike Mclain (keyboards); Paul Goad (keyboards, bass); Bob Smith, Curtis Randall (bass); Brad Billingsley, Fred Gleber (drums); Ray Carl (harmonics); Crista Carnes, Kayla Powell, Lisa Criss, Joy Mckay, Perry Coleman (background vocals).
Engineers: Johnny Mulhair, Mike Mclain, Greg Hunt.
Recorded at Norman Petty Studios, Clovis, New Mexico; Mclain Studios, Dallas, Texas; Rosewood Studios, Tyler, Texas. Includes liner notes by LeAnn Rimes.
One might assume that this 14-year-old Nashville phenomenon's EARLY YEARS would consist of recordings obtained from her mother's womb, but in fact LeAnn Rimes has been recording professionally since she was 11, when she made a regionally-distributed LP called AFTER ALL. The selections here, a group of "favorite songs" recorded before the release of her blockbuster BLUE (which made her a multi-platinum star at 13), find the singer in fine voice, full of the same self-possession and vocal ability that informs the material on BLUE.
The 1930s chestnut "I Want To Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart" re-affirms Rimes' fondness for tradition and showcases her impressive yodeling abilities (let's see Garth try that). Elsewhere she ventures further afield, covering the Beatles ("Yesterday") and Dolly Parton ("I Will Always Love You"). Wherever the song takes Rimes, though, the one constant is the poise and character she brings to her singing. Whether she's updating Bill Monroe's classic "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" or neo-Nashville pop like "River Of Love," the little lady with the big voice proves she can make her presence felt in any context.