Country music veteran Trisha Yearwood may have detoured from releasing her own music, but don't think she hasn't been busy.
Her last album of original material was "Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love" in 2007. Now comes its proper follow-up, "Every Girl," featuring the hit single "Every Girl in This Town," the highest-charting debut song of her career.
"I didn't mean for such time to pass," Yearwood said.
Since "Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love," she has made a holiday album, "Christmas Together" (2016), and a Sinatra tribute album, "Let's Be Frank" (2018). She also hosts the Emmy-winning "Trisha's Southern Kitchen," in its 12th season on the Food Network, and performs with her husband, Garth Brooks.
Now, with "Every Girl," Yearwood is feeling more creative than ever.
"When I finished the album, I was really happy," said Yearwood, who had no expectations for the project. "I just wanted to make music."
In addition to a hit single, the album landed at No. 5 on the country albums chart.
"That's so crazy to me — the icing on the cake," she said. "When you make sure you take care of the music, everything else will take care of itself."
Yearwood admits to being controlling when it comes to making albums, and "when it's out there, I wish I could have done this differently because I'm a perfectionist. I was done recording this record in January and have been listening to it for 10 months, and I'm not tired of it."
She teams with "American Idol" winner and "The Voice" coach Kelly Clarkson on "Tell Me Something I Don't Know." She calls Clarkson a "unicorn" who's "always on pitch. She comes in, and she nails it. When you want that strong, soaring harmony, nobody does it like her. She's just a little sister — fun and with all this energy."
"Bible and a .44" is a collaboration with country singer Patty Loveless. The two go as far back as the early 1990s, when Yearwood signed with MCA, where Loveless also was.
"She was one of the first to really be kind to me," Yearwood said. "She's quiet and a solid friend."
Don Henley, featured on "Love You Anyway," is that guy she says has been there from the start — a voice she grew up with. She specifically wanted him on the album because of the powerful, poignant nature of the song.
She and Brooks are on "What Gave Me Away." Though they live together, and she can get him on her albums any time, she only does it when it makes sense. She said she couldn't imagine singing this song with anyone but Brooks.
Yearwood's "Every Girl" comes at a time when the conversation about women in country music has turned to their diminished presence. Yearwood, who is 55, said the country music industry has changed a lot for women — and not for the better.
"I wasn't going to submit the album to radio; I didn't know what the game was anymore," she said.
When she started making music in the early 1990s, lots of women were making country albums.
"But something has gone the other way," she said. "That's been the hardest part — trying to understand why that's happening."
But she's seeing positive things happening, including younger singers paying homage to the older ones.
"I feel like we're in this together," she said. "We're often pitted against each other, but when we join together, we're a force to reckon with."