Trisha Yearwood Talks ‘Let’s Be Frank': ‘We Really Wanted to Do It the Way Sinatra Would Have’
While creating her new Frank Sinatra tribute album, Let's Be Frank, Trisha Yearwood was, naturally, looking for inspiration from the man himself -- but not just in the songs. From her mindset to the recording process itself, the country star was passionate about preserving Sinatra's legacy and making the project feel authentic.
"We really wanted to do it the way that Frank would have done it," Yearwood tells The Boot.
Capturing the famous singer's personality and style was important to Yearwood as she approached the project. The songs were arranged specifically for her and recorded live at the historic Capitol Records building in Hollywood, Calif. She enlisted a 55-piece orchestra, and used the same room -- even the same microphone, conductor's podium and barstool -- that Ol' Blue Eyes employed.
"I do believe in ghosts; I do believe in energy," Yearwood admits with a laugh. "There's only a handful of studios in the world that have this kind of history ... You're overwhelmed by who all has recorded in this building.
"You can't help but feel it," she adds. "I didn't see a Frank ghost, but it definitely felt like everything went just like it was supposed to."
For Let's Be Frank, Yearwood tackled some of Sinatra's trademark songs, as well as a few off-the-beaten path tracks that Sinatra recorded, but wasn't well-known for. What the "Walkaway Joe" artist didn't do, however, was shirk away from Sinatra's more masculine tunes.
"There's a handful of these songs that you don't typically associate with a woman," Yearwood tells The Boot. Lyrics such as "I could tell you a lot, but it's not in a gentleman's code" from Sinatra's "One for My Baby," for example, have often been changed to "I could tell you a lot, but you gotta to be true to your code" -- but Yearwood kept the original words.
"I love singing the masculine version," she says simply, "so I kept it that way."
When selecting Sinatra's "The Lady Is a Tramp," however, Yearwood was more intentional about deciding if it had a message she could deliver.
"If you really listen to the lyrics ... it talks about this woman who is really secure in herself," Yearwood explains. "She does whatever she wants. You kinda love this gal. I want to personify her for this song."
In addition to its Sinatra covers, Let's Be Frank includes a new track with a similar feel. Yearwood and husband Garth Brooks co-wrote "For the Last Time," off of a title Yearwood suggested.
"He started singing this melody that sounded like [it was] from a different era," recalls Yearwood. "I [didn't] know where this song belongs. It's not a country song, really."
The pair held onto the track until Yearwood's project came along, and Brooks suggested that she add it onto the record. "I don't want anybody to think I think this song should be next to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow,"" Yearwood remembers thinking -- but her team loved the song.
"It was not my intention to have an original song on the record," she adds, "but it doesn't feel weird to sing it next to these other songs."
Let's Be Frank was released in December at Williams Sonoma stores. It will be widely available on Friday (Feb. 15).
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