The title “Everlasting” sums up so much more than the latest hit album from Martina McBride, making a difference in multiple ways.
The lady with perhaps country music’s most powerful voice, as heard on “Independence Day” in the mid-1990s, will return to the Alabama Theatre in North Myrtle Beach to perform at 7 p.m. Friday, on the eve of the United States’ 239th birthday. This marks her second summer in a row to serenade the Grand Strand; last August, she played for about two hours straight, belting songs, in a big-band framework.
Speaking in late spring from her home in Nashville, Tenn., the Kansas native said in singing touching numbers such as “I’m Gonna Love You Through It” and “Anyway,” she finds the response and relating by listeners “pretty amazing.”
“I love it,” McBride said, honored that such music can be “a help, an inspiration and lift someone up” with memories and hope. “I’m really privileged to be part of that.”
With so many hits of her own from which to choose to sing live, such as “Wild Angels,” “Valentine,” “I Love You,” “There You Are,” “Blessed” and “This One’s for the Girls,” McBride’s found her own muse in tipping her hat to past eras. She shared her own take on 18 country classics on “Timeless,” from 2005 on RCA Records, and a dozen soulful standards on “Everlasting,” released last year on the Sharon’s Rose label and debuting atop the country album charts. That package includes “If You Don’t Know Me by Now,” first a hit for Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, “Little Bit of Rain” (the late Fred Neil) and “Come See About Me” (the Supremes).
McBride said she remains captivated since covering “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted,” the most successful recording by the late Jimmy Ruffin, from 1966 on Motown Records, when younger brother David Ruffin was singing co-lead for the Temptations on the same label. Thinking back to hearing the original version in her youth, the music moved her, but she never pondered the lyrics heavily.
“When you start taking songs apart,” McBride said, especially for this album project, “it strikes me as to how sad some of them are. …
“It’s fun to really get into the lyrics and the meaning. That’s one thing we did with this record: We let the lyrics shine and recorded them in a way that makes you focus on the lyrics and what the song is really saying.”
Warming up her voice
McBride also puts her heart into performances on awards shows, such as in “Where Would You Be?” in 2002 on CMT, and in “Independence Day” on the 2015 Academy of Country Music Awards telecast. Asked what her warmup routine entails, she said she exercises her vocal cords “before I go on stage, but I didn’t use to.”
For about a year and a half, she said, she’s enjoyed her preshow vocal runs in her own “quiet” way, “mostly on the bus, when I’m getting ready.”
Watching and attending award shows, McBride said as a fan and listener, she has loved seeing a new wave of women take turns high on the country charts this past decade.
“The more women on country radio, the better,” she said. “It’s great to hear things from their perspective, and I’m really excited for them.”
Her “Over the Rainbow” performance in April from Fox-TV’s “American Idol” marked a redo from her live version that closes the “Martina” CD, from 2003.
McBride said that “for the past eight years,” she has presented the song in concert in tribute to the style of the late Eva Cassidy’s version, so when the guest “Idol” visit arose, “I wanted to sing something kind of classical,” then the question, “Why don’t you record it” emerged.
“It came around at the very last minute,” McBride said of the single, available for download from iTunes.
With her first book, “Around the Table,” out from William Morrow/HarperCollins Publishers since autumn, ranging from recipes to menus to decor and entertaining, McBride said, “I’m open to all kinds of ideas” for her next endeavor outside of music. Carving out “the right time” for another Christmas CD remains on her wish list as well.
The Martina McBride/Team Martina Music Program – www.teammartina.com – also keeps her active in various avenues for charitable outreach, such as for homeless youth, cancer research, helping fund a city playground and providing musical instruments for needy children in Central America.
She and husband John McBride stay busy with their three daughters, ages 20, 17 and 9. Seeing each girl grow and graduate through the milestones of childhood, the happy wife and mother called “patience” a key trait provided by parenthood.
McBride said she takes the youngest, Ava, to school daily, which affords quality time to chat, and they make sure to make time for outings – maybe for lunch on days off and clothes shopping – for a pause from the modern, everyday world of Internet use, email and texting.
“It’s really some focus on ‘just her-and-me’ time,” McBride said, and at home, “family dinners, almost every night.”
Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764.
If you go
Who | Martina McBride
When | 7 p.m. Friday
Where | Alabama Theatre, at Barefoot Landing, on U.S. 17 in North Myrtle Beach
How much | $59.95, $69.95 or $79.95
Other guest concerts | Mostly at 7 p.m.:
▪ Temptations and Four Tops, July 10, $49.95, $58.95 or $67.95.
▪ Bill Engvall, 6 p.m. July 12. $55, $65, $75 or $125.
▪ Mickey Gilley, Aug. 28. $34.95, $42.95 or $48.95.
▪ “The Ricky Mokel Show,” starring Grant Turner, Aug. 29. $29.95, $34.95 or $39.95.
▪ Clare Bowen and Charles Esten, from ABC’s “Nashville,” Sept. 5. $49.95, $57.95 or $65.95.
▪ Ray Stevens, Sept. 19. $49.95, $56.95 or $64.95.
▪ Kenny Rogers, Oct. 3. $54.95, $62.95 or $73.95.
Information | 272-1111, 800-342-2262 or www.alabama-theatre.com.