News Column

Country star McBride continues chart-topping success

July 10, 2014

By Allison Griffin, Montgomery Advertiser, Ala.



July 10--Vocalist Martina McBride has been topping the country charts and touring for more than 20 years now, but says her current tour, which comes to the Montgomery Performing Arts Centre next week, is the most fun she's had on stage.

The tour is an accompaniment to her latest album, "Everlasting," which debuted at No. 1 on the Top Country Album charts when it was released in this spring.

"When I was making the record, I was (visualizing) how we were going to present this on stage, and how much fun it would be to tour with a horn section and background vocals, and really create a visual experience as well as a musical experience," she said in a recent telephone interview.

"We've done just that, and it's been amazing to go out on the road with the show. It's so much fun."

The album is a collection of covers; she breathes new life into such classic ballads as "I've Been Loving You Too Long" by Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin's "Do Right Woman," as well as more up-tempo tunes, like the Van Morrison classic "Wild Night" and Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds" (which she performed recently at the Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony.)

McBride said choosing the vintage soul and R&B songs was about a seven-month process of listening to literally thousands of songs that she thought fit her voice, and that she could perform authentically. "I wanted to make it a listening experience from beginning to end that was really consistent and cohesive," she said. "At the end of the day, I just recorded songs that I love, like any other record that I make."

The album has topped the charts, and has also received positive reviews.

"On her new album, 'Everlasting,' McBride begs comparison with such giants as Aretha Franklin and Sam Cooke by taking on their most potent performances and material," reads a review by The Associated Press. "Working with producer Don Was, who brings an understated R&B pulse to the songs, McBride leans on vulnerability and purity of tone rather than the growling, rapturous release of the originals."

McBride said touring doesn't get old, and this go around, she's having more fun than ever. Touring was more difficult when her children were young, but now that they're older -- her three girls are 19, 16 and 9 -- she feels more free to enjoy it.

Her daughters listen to their mom's music, but they also keep McBride up on some of the new music out today, "stuff that I probably would never hear otherwise."

The family just went to the Bonnaroo music festival, but they listen to all kinds of music at home, including classic music. "My kids listen to everything from Etta James to the Beatles to Led Zeppelin to Mac DeMarco and Lana Del Rey," she said. "They love everything."

But "Everlasting" is now their favorite record of hers, she said. "They go around singing it all the time."

And they know their mother's music too. McBride's 16-year-old daughter, who's driving now, walked through the house singing "My Baby Loves Me" not long ago, to her mother's surprise.

"I'm like, what are you doing? She's like, 'I have it on my iPod.' They ride around, listening to my songs. I think they're discovering (them) for the first time in their own way."

Media outlets reported the story of one special McBride fan last month. During a tour stop at Huntsville's Von Braun Center in June, McBride surprised 16-year-old singer Madie Hendrix, who is blind, with an invitation to join her onstage during soundcheck. The singer and her fan performed an impromptu duet of McBride's 2006 hit "Anyway," according to Rolling Stone.

McBride said the "special moment" came about through Team Martina, a fan-driven charitable organization that's grown over the years, and McBride herself has gotten more involved too. The fans work together as a group to raise money for charities, and McBride rewarded the top fundraisers with a visit to her sound check.

Hendrix raised $2,000 to help Team Martina donate a total of $33,000 for Covenant House, which helps Guatemalan girls who are rescued from sex trafficking and homelessness. The money will go to starting a music program for the girls.

"Music is what kept me going," McBride told Rolling Stone. "I know that it can make such a difference. We're going to make a difference with this. It feels really good."

Martina McBride has a lot going on this year -- in addition to a new album, "Everlasting," and a tour to support it, she'll become an author when her new book from Harper Collins, "Around the Table," comes out this fall.

"I've always loved to entertain and cook, and it's been a huge part of who I am and what I do when I'm at home," McBride said during a telephone interview recently. She wanted to share that part of her life with readers and fans, and also to demystify the art of entertaining.

"I feel like people are intimidated to entertain at home -- you have people at your house, and you want everything to go just perfectly," she said. The book is a how-to book, but one she hopes will inspire people to start with small, easy parties, with a flow and format they're comfortable with.

The hope, she said, is "to get back into the sort of experience of having people in your home and creating memories instead of going out to a restaurant or bar," she said. "Which is fun, too, but it's such a different experience when you have people in your home and you can really let the evening unfold."

The book features 12 different party themes with lots of ideas for invitations, place settings and other ways to make a party special, along with a menu for each party and recipes, tips, pictures and stories.

McBride said the book is due out in October.

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WANT TO GO?

WHAT: Martina McBride in concert

WHEN: 7:30 p.m.July 17

WHERE: Montgomery Performing Arts Centre, 201 Tallapoosa St.

TICKETS: $50.25-$101.05; log on to www.ticketmaster.com

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(c)2014 Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Ala.)

Visit the Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Ala.) at www.montgomeryadvertiser.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Montgomery Advertiser (AL)


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