Without fail, after Sunday comes Monday. But, with the start of each new week comes a fresh Rhythm & Boots Monday Hero to discover. This week’s featured artist can certainly double as a #WCW, but today we’ll jump start the week with a little listen & learn session about none other than: Faith Hill. Even though the 90s and early 2000s were Faith’s most prominent years in mainstream country music, she has since remained a household name in the genre and continues to release full studio albums, either solo or with her equally successful husband, country hunk Tim McGraw. And not by coincidence, the stunning Faith Hill just released her most recent studio album this past Friday, November 17. The Rest of Our Life, with husband McGraw as a co-artist and collaborator, is emphasized by the duo’s lead single “Speak To a Girl” and features songwriters ranging from country buffs Brett James and Lori McKenna to pop superstars Meghan Trainor and Ed Sheeran. In a recent interview on The Today Show, Faith and Tim admitted that while both their styles of making music and recording music are different, they have almost an entirely different third style when they record together as a duo. (The Rest of Our Life is the couple’s first co-recorded studio album, and is now available on all streaming services and in record stores [yeah, those!].)
But for today, let’s focus on Faith. Releasing her first full-length record Take Me As I Am in 1993, the then-26-year-old Faith Hill had been waiting patiently and working odd jobs for years in the Nashville area while trying to become a country music singer (including a quick stint as a McDonald’s fry cook and cashier). As a young girl growing up in the rural town of Star, Mississippi (about 20 miles south of Jackson, MS) with her adopted family, Faith wanted nothing more than to be a professional country singer when she grew up. After moving from Mississippi to Nashville as a teenager and after years of working as a backup singer, secretary, and many other gigs, she was finally discovered by a record label exec during a 1991 performance at Nashville’s famous Bluebird Cafe, while performing with country singer-songwriter Gary Burr. From there, history was written and she was brought on as a solo artist to be added to Warner Bros. Records’ country music arsenal. Two years later, she released her first LP and rose to stardom almost immediately — her incredible voice spoke for itself.
As an artist, Faith records and performs both uptempo songs and slow-moving ballads that centralize around relationships, love, and life as a whole. From her 90s hits such as “Wild One” and “This Kiss” to her more recent singles “The Way You Love Me” and “A Baby Changes Everything”, the themes throughout her work are heavily dependent on family, friends, and self-empowerment. Having sold more than forty million records worldwide, there is no question that she is one of the more well-known and impactful female vocalists in country and pop music of the last few decades. Now that her three daughters with McGraw are all in high school or college, she has once again devoted time to her art as a singer-songwriter and has even started going on world tours once again, co-headlining with her husband Tim. Their Soul2Soul Tour together traveled across the country in 2017, and will be encoring in even more locations throughout 2018. Faith has also won numerous ACM, CMT, CMA, and Grammy awards, and was the spotlighted artist on NBC’s Sunday Night Football theme song from 2007-2012. From top-selling Christmas albums to sold-out Las Vegas residencies, Faith is unquestionably one of the most influential female artists in modern country music, and it seems the back half of her career is just beginning to reignite.
Positive you know a Faith Hill song and can’t remember the name of it…? Maybe it’s one of these below!
- “This Kiss” (1998) – This Monday Hero (or realistically heroine), wouldn’t be the same without this song, and neither would this blogpost. You know this song, and even if you’re sitting there saying “I don’t know or like any country music,” you’re mistaken. Everybody knows this song, and in my opinion it’s one of the best songs of the 90s from any genre. In fact, this song basically is the 1990s. It had enormous crossover success, hitting #1 on the US and Canada country charts while simultaneously making the Top 20 on the pop charts in the US, UK and Australia. This song, THIS SONGGG…unstoppable!
- “Wild One” (1993) – As Faith’s first big single, this snare-heavy record flawlessly captures her original 90s sound. Her voice shines bright over the accompanying slide guitar, and her vocal range is as free as the main character that she’s singing about. The song, which describes the difficulty a child has disagreeing with her parents about life’s moments growing up, is a testament to believing in yourself, achieving your dreams, and living life to the fullest.
- “Breathe” (1999) – Possibly the largest single of her career, this title track on her fourth studio album stood for six weeks at #1 on the US Country charts and also even peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the year 2000. As a ballad, the song’s slower nature highlights Faith’s signature vocals over an acoustic guitar/slide guitar combo and makes for one of the most sing-your-heart-out tracks of her career.
- “If I Should Fall Behind” (1999) – I chose this deeper cut for one reason in particular: it was written by Bruce Springsteen. To me, this song is such a testament to the impact that Faith has had on country music and the music industry as a whole. Her voice is powerful and versatile, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be tied to country. Musically, there’s no doubt that the song was originally penned by Springsteen, but with Faith laying down the vocal track, it becomes even more epic. I’m daring enough to say that this song was made more for her to sing than it was for him. Whereas the beauty of the song gets overshadowed by The Boss’s raspy vocals, Faith’s warm, embracing voice takes this track to its pinnacle, and brings you right alongside with it.
Still can’t get enough of Faith & fam? Follow her on all her social media platforms below!
Still can’t get enough?!?! Check out here very own #MondayHero playlist on R&B’s Spotify.
Want tickets to see Faith and Tim in 2018? Click here.