This Jennifer Warnes album influenced me in two ways.
First, her song “I Know a Heartache When I See One” was my gateway to country music in the early 1980s.
Around 1980, I grew bored with what I was hearing on mainstream rock stations. “Heartache,” which crossed the two genres, got me listening to country stations, and I continued to do so for the next several years.
Country music had long appealed to me. I recall songs from my childhood such as Billy Grammer’s “Gotta Travel On” and “He’ll Have to Go” by Jim Reeves. And after I discovered Top 40 radio, I had enjoyed crossover hits such as Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man” and Charlie Rich’s “Behind Closed Doors.”
My 1980s foray into popular country music greatly expanded my knowledge of the genre. Then, around 1986, I found programs on Los Angeles-area radio stations KPFK and KCRW that took me in several different directions, including contemporary acoustic music, old-time country, bluegrass, “world music,” Celtic and what is now known as Americana.
With the inclusion of her gorgeous, a cappella rendition of “Hard Times Come Again No More” on the album, Warnes also rekindled my appreciation of the music of Stephen Foster. It motivated me to find a book of Foster’s songs, which in turn provided a wellspring of inspiration for my own music.
Favorite tracks: I Know a Heartache When I See One, Hard Times Come Again No More, You Remember Me, Frankie in the Rain