Martina McBride continues finding other voices with which to express herself, this year with a second tribute album and a forthcoming book.
The petite Kansas native with a powerful voice will perform at 7 p.m. Friday at the Alabama Theatre, in North Myrtle Beach.
In a phone call last week from home in Nashville, Tenn., McBride narrowed down what she found as the most fulfilling project on “Everlasting,” a collection of 12 soulful classics on the Sharon’s Rose label: “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted?”
“For some reason,” McBride said of what first became a hit in 1966 for Jimmy Ruffin, the older brother to the late Temptations co-lead singer David Ruffin, “once we got into the song, it was very complicated. I guess that was the most gratifying, when the musicians and I finished that.”
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Other numbers from “Everlasting,” also the name of her 2014 tour, include covers in salutes to Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds,” Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” Sam Cooke’s “Bring It on Home to Me,” with help from Gavin DeGraw, and Etta James’ “In the Basement,” joined by Kelly Clarkson.
This CD follows in the tradition of evoking an era, as McBride did with 18 country standards such as “(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden,” “I Don’t Hurt Anymore” and “Make the World Go Away,” on “Timeless,” released by RCA in 2005.
“I had a lot of fun,” she said of recording “Timeless,” thus for “Everlasting”: “I wanted to re-create that experience again.”
Her own “Valentine”
McBride began her presence on the country charts in the mid-1990s with “My Baby Loves Me,” “Life #9” and “Wild Angels,” but “Valentine,” her first breakthrough ballad, recorded with pianist Jim Brickman, also on his “Picture This” CD from 1997, resulted in what she looks back on as “a great song” as well.
“I always loved that song,” said McBride, whom the Grand Ole Opry welcomed as a member two years earlier. “I still do it live sometimes. That song was a special song for a lot of people.”
Asked about premiering “Where Would You Be?” in 2002 on CMT’s then-“Flameworthy Video Music Awards,” McBride spoke about shouldering that challenge, “a difficult song to sing,” with its long notes.
“It was fun to sing, actually,” she said. “It’s really powerful.”
With many other hits such as “When God-Fearin’ Women Get The Blues” and “Independence Day” – still the introductory tune every hour during Sean Hannity’s national radio show – McBride’s voice helps tell other stories in some music videos, and possibly make a difference in awareness in other ways beyond music, especially in “Concrete Angel.” That tear-jerking video about a girl also promotes the Phoenix-based National Child Abuse Hotline, for anyone who needs assistance or suspects violation of a youngster: 800-422-4453 (4-A-CHILD), and www.childhelpusa.org.
“I think it’s always great,” McBride said, “when you have a song that touches people, or a message that touches people, beyond entertaining them.”
Raising awareness, she said, “makes you feel something” as an individual to make a difference,” and “we all appreciate that.”
Fans have seen McBride with her family in parts of videos for “This One’s for the Girls” and “Blessed.” The latter, with a special flash of fireflies, could be seen as biographical.
“I didn’t find out till after I recorded it that the writers,” McBride said, referring to Brett James, Hillary Lindsey and Troy Verges, “wrote it with me in mind. They saw what’s really important to me.”
Family first, always
McBride, who with husband John McBride, remains so involved with raising their three daughters, called that family bond “the most important thing.”
“Your relationship with your children is so important,” she said. “We’re all very close. All of that time has paid off.”
McBride’s also pulling a new project out of the oven, “Around the Table.” Her debut book, which William Morrow/HarperCollins Publishers will release Oct. 7, will include her most beloved recipes, along with other ideas for entertaining, menu planning and décor themes.
“I’m doing the last proofreading today,” McBride said, before the close of this interview, then about ready to relay the manuscript in “a couple of days.”
Stylewise, among mother and girls, McBride said she and Delaney, Emma and Ava Rose “all kind of borrow from one another.”
“They raid my closet every once in a while,” McBride said, “and I find things in their closets that I like.”