Album/Single Reviews

REVIEW: Faith Hill – ‘Deep Tracks’

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Faith Hill’s long association with Warner Nashville has now come to an end. She signed with the label in 1993. At the time, she was working as a secretary in a Nashville music publishing firm, and sent the label a demo tape. It was a step towards an association that produced 6 studio albums and 4 compilation albums. She has had 41 singles in the Billboard Country Chart.

In recent years she hasn’t regularly released new music. Her last studio album was ‘Joy To The World’, a Christmas album back in 2008. ‘Deep Tracks’ is her final release for Warner Nashville and fulfils her contractual obligations. It’s part compilation, part new music, although the former greatly outweighs the latter. It contains three new tracks but even those aren’t new recordings. They have simply never been released until now. Those who are familiar with Faith Hill’s back catalogue will be well aware of the songs that have been included on this album.

4 tracks from her ‘Cry’ album, 3 from the ‘Fireflies’ album, 2 from ‘Faith’ with a solitary cut from ‘Breathe’ make up the compilation section of ‘Deep Tracks’. The selected cuts are reported to be Faith’s favourites and they serve as an excellent stepping stone into Faith Hill’s back catalogue.

There are a number of highlights including a song that Bruce Springsteen composed, ‘If I Should Fall Behind’ that was tucked away on her ‘Breathe’ album in 1999. It’s a song that deserved wider recognition but was never released as a single and was overshadowed by the huge tracks lifted from that album, ‘Breathe’ and ‘The Way That You Love Me’.

As a reminder to revisit this superb album, ‘Deep Tracks’ has fulfilled its goal. Another great song from her ‘Fireflies’ album ‘If You Ask’ is a reminder that Lori McKenna has had a long association with both Faith and husband Tim McGraw. It’s typical McKenna and was one of three songs that she composed, and helped ‘Fireflies’ to a sales total of 3.8 million copies worldwide.

Faith Hill’s fans will be interested in her new songs. All are songs that haven’t made the final selection process when albums have been compiled previously, but Faith feels that they are deserving of a wider audience. ‘Boy’ could have been part of the ‘Fireflies’ project but didn’t make the cut. She has said that its inclusion on ‘Deep Tracks’ came about because it’s a personal favourite and because it “reminds me of my man”.

‘Why’ was recorded 12 years ago. She didn’t release it and it was subsequently covered by Rascal Flatts who released it in 2009. She now includes it because it is a song that Tim particularly adores.

‘Come To Jesus’ is a gospel song dedicated to her mom who very recently passed away, and was always encouraging her to record a gospel album. The deep south vibe and the fiddles resonate with Faith’s delivery and probably gets the vote for the best of the three new songs. It is a direction that she should explore further.

The album was meant as a closure of the very long chapter that Faith Hill has shared with Warner. It seems to be a very amicable parting of the ways and this album will stand as a fine testament of her body of work for the company. If you are not familiar with her back catalogue, it will serve as a hook for further exploration.

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