Now a ‘90s country icon, Suzy Bogguss was only a wildly talented newcomer in 1989, when her major-label debut album, Somewhere Between, was released. With Bogguss’ powerful vocals, a title track penned by Merle Haggard and tons of vintage country influence, the 10-track record was destined to be country classic.
From Bogguss’ take on Haggard’s “Somewhere Between” to the saucy “Take It Like a Man,” Somewhere Between is a must-listen. Keep reading for a song-by-song look at this stunning debut album:
"My Sweet Love Ain't Around"
Influenced both vocally and instrumentally by icons of the genre, Bogguss shows off her bluegrass bonafides on “My Sweet Love Ain’t Around,” the fourth single from Somewhere Between.
On the title track (and first single) of her 1989 debut, Bogguss perfectly strikes the balance between tender and powerful. Written and originally recorded by Merle Haggard, “Somewhere Between” is a master work in Bogguss’ uncanny ability to sing with incredible emotional range.
“I’m at Home on the Range”
Thanks to its irresistibly twangy, Western swing-inspired melody, “I’m at Home on the Range” uses evocative imagery to pay homage to a West that’s still a little bit wild. Co-written by Bogguss, it’s a sort of girl-power anthem for the cowgirl set, and that’s never a bad thing.
Bogguss describes herself as a bit of a fixer-upper on this jangly tune, co-written by Pam Tillis and Gary Nicholson. A punchy ode to dealing with romantic damage, it’s still totally relatable in a totally different millennium.
Continuing in the rich tradition of hard-country songs about heartbreak, “Guilty as They Come” is a syrupy-sad ballad with lyrics that pair perfectly with whiskey. “I’m trying to tell it like it is / There’s nothing wrong with what I’ve done,” Bogguss sings on the chorus. “If it’s a sin to feel lonesome / Then I’m as guilty as they come.”
This cowboy-inspired classic, written by Michael Burton, has also been recorded by Chris LeDoux and Garth Brooks, but Bogguss’ version is among the best. Breaking out her yodeling skills again, she sells the story with her own distinct brand of earnestness.
With its thoroughly ‘80s vibe and pop-country arrangement, “Cross My Broken Heart” isn’t the best heartbreak song on this album, but it’s still a worthy entry to any lovesick playlist.
"I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart"
Bogguss’ update on this cowgirl classic, made famous by Patsy Montana in 1935, is the result of a great deal of work. The story goes that Bogguss obsessively studied the yodeling in the track, working tirelessly to perfect it before recording her take on “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart.”
The title of this album’s penultimate track pretty much sums up its theme: This is a record about love and everything that means — the good, the bad and the hopelessly romantic.
Arguably the sauciest track on Somewhere Between, “Take It Like a Man” finds Bogguss issuing a serious romantic challenge to her potential lover. “You won’t come to me, so tonight I’ve come to you,” she sings. “If I give my love to you like a woman, will you take it like a man?”
Double entendre aside, it’s hard not to love this slightly syrupy ballad.