The recording of Faith Hill’s second album, IT MATTERS TO ME, was delayed by surgery she needed to fix a ruptured blood vessel on her vocal cords. The album came out in 1995 via Warner Brothers. It was produced by Scott Hendricks and co-produced by Faith. The album peaked at #4 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and five of the songs became Top Ten hits. In the liner notes, Faith writes: “My prayer is that someday every child will have someone to hold them and tell them they are loved. They will not be hungry and there will be a place to lay their little heads when they are sleepy”.
Craig Wiseman and Trey Bruce wrote the album opener ‘Someone Else’s Dream’. It is a mid-tempo country number about the importance of forging your own trail in life: “She was Daddy’s little girl, mamma’s little angel/Teacher’s pet, pageant queen/She said ‘All my life I’ve been pleasin’ everyone but me/Waking up in someone else’s dream’.../Now she’s got 27 candles on her cake/And she means to make her life her own/Before there’s 28”. ‘Let’s Go to Vegas’ was the album’s first single and a #5 hit. It’s a fun toe-tapper about getting hitched: “We’ll find a little wedding chapel/A pair of rings and a preacher too/Underneath the neon steeple/We’ll take a gamble and say ‘I do’/Hey baby, let’s go to Vegas/Kiss the single life good-bye/Hey baby, let’s go to Vegas/Bet on love and let it ride”.
The album’s second single was the title track, ‘It Matters to Me’, penned by Mark D. Sanders and Ed Hill. It was a #1 hit. This country ballad’s chorus will resonate with many, many women: “When we don’t talk, when we don’t touch/When it doesn’t feel like we’re even in love/It matters to me/When I don’t know what to say/Don’t know what to do/Don’t know if it really even matters to you/How can I make you see it matters to me?” ‘Bed of Roses’ is an up-tempo country song delivered from the perspective of a gal who has been through a lot: “Don’t want your bed of roses, don’t want no handful of thorns/Don’t want to be your livin’ doll/Don’t want to be no woman scorned/Well, I don’t want to watch you turn the page/When our chapter closes/No, I’m not gonna lay me down in your bed of roses”.
Ariel Caten wrote the terrific adult contemporary song, ‘A Man’s Home is his Castle’. It addresses domestic abuse: “Linda works the diner/Pourin’ coffee, slingin’ hash/She said ‘I wouldn’t have come in today, but I really need the cash/I know I can’t fool anyone ‘cause dark glasses tell no lies/But make-up won’t cover up a blackened eye...’/He said ‘A man’s home is his castle/It’s always been and so it remains’/But he holds the keys in a fist of rage/His home is his castle/And mine is a cage”. Faith dedicates ‘You Can’t Lose Me’ to her Mom. It is a pleasant country song with this chorus spoken both by mother and daughter: “You can’t lose me/Bet your life/I am here and I will always be/Just a wish away/Wherever you go/No matter how far/My love is where you are/You won’t be lost if you believe/You can’t lose me”.
Alan Jackson wrote the moving country ballad ‘I Can’t Do That Anymore’. It’s about a woman who has sacrificed too much for her man: “Cut my hair the way you wanted/Watched you become important/Quit my job to make our new home far away/Now you’re Mr. Successful and I’m queen of the treadmill/Trying to stay the size you think that I should stay/I used to dream about what I would be/Last night I dreamed about a washing machine”. This was the album’s fifth and last single, hitting #8. ‘A Room in My Heart’ includes these lovely words: “We’ll paint the walls from blue to white/And set the mood by candlelight/Together we’ll keep out the cold/And I’ll still be there when we’re old/If you’ll let me”.
‘You Will Be Mine’ is a soulful country and western track. It’s about a woman who knows exactly what she wants: “You top my list of things to do/And I will get close to you/Before this night is through/I will have held you/I will have kissed you/I will have claimed you/You will be mine/I will have loved you/Wrong or right/I will have your heart/You will be mine”. Last up is the fast-paced gospel number ‘Keep Walkin’ On’, penned by Karen Staley and Tricia Walker. It is a duet with Shelby Lynne that has upfront Christian lyrics: “Well, the road is narrow and it’s straight/But it leads right up to the Golden Gate/It may be rough, it may be long/But I don’t have to walk alone/Step by step and day by day/He takes my hand and I hear Him say/Keep walkin’ on’ (4X).”
IT MATTERS TO ME is a worthy follow-up to Faith’s debut album a couple years earlier. Instruments used on this country music record include: the B-3 organ, electric guitar, steel guitar, lap steel, and fiddle. Background vocalists include: Ashley Cleveland, Robert Johnson, Pam Rose, Dennis Wilson, Russ Taff, and Karen Staley. Faith Hill’s vocals are heartfelt and believable. Thematically six of the ten songs here deal with being in an unfulfilling or hurtful relationship, or hoping to be in a loving relationship. There are also two songs about parent-child relationships, in addition to one gospel number, and one happy love song. In 1996 Faith would marry Tim McGraw. The couple have three daughters together. Fans of Martina McBride and Reba should add this album to their collection. There are a handful of pretty pictures of Faith that come with the CD. I’m rating IT MATTERS TO ME 93%. For more info visit: www.faithhill.com.