September 11, 1995 12:00 PM

>Faith Hill

SPIT POLISHED

Faith Hill, 27, has made a lot of noise on the country scene, but last winter she was left speechless after surgery to remove an enlarged blood vessel from a vocal cord. Hill, who is engaged to music producer Scott Hendricks, was sidelined at home in Nashville for three months, and for the first two weeks doctors ordered her to be completely silent. “For a big talker like me,” says Hill, now fully recovered, “that was a huge problem.”

You’ve sung at rodeos and in prisons. What’s the oddest gig you ever had?

When I was about 16, I sang at the Raleigh, Miss., Tobacco Spit. They would have the competition before the entertainment, so they would set these spitoons at the end of the stage and the men and women, some with teeth, some without, would stand way back to see who could spit farthest into the spitoons. It was so gross. They had to clean the stage off with a towel before we played. But I was used to it. My grandmother used to dip snuff, so it didn’t bother me too much then. But to think about it now makes me laugh.

How did you choose the songs on this album?

I’ve listened to thousands of unsolicited songs trying to find the right ones for this album. I love for songwriters to pitch me songs, but sometimes what I get is so comical. I got one song, called “Roadkill,” about this possum that was dead on the side of the road. I thought about putting one of those songs in my live act just to see if my fans are really listening and paying attention.

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