Songbird Martina McBride revealed the cover art for her upcoming “Everlasting” album on Tuesday evening (Jan. 14). Set for a March 4 drop date, the 47-year-old performer began searching out for great soul artists (such as Aretha Franklin and Etta James) for inspiration.
“It seemed interesting,” she tells Associated Press about the project which features classic soul and R&B songs by Elvis and Van Morrison. “And as a singer, really challenging and fun, too, to push my boundaries a little bit and tackle some of these classic songs and performances.”
As with most performers, McBride has been known to cover songs live in her concerts. For these soul songs, she explains that they aren’t too different from her traditional country roots. “In a way this music is so similar to country music in that it just has emotion and soul,” she says. “That’s what I look for when I look for my own songs, something I can sing with a lot of emotion. There’s a heartbeat to this music.”
The new project, to be released on her own label through Kobalt label services, was recorded at Nashville’s Blackbird Studio with Detroit producer Don Was (The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan). Previously, she recorded her platinum-selling “Timeless” record (2005), which was a collection of simple country covers. For this new adventure, she promises to bring new life and interpretation to her versions.
“It’s an instinct thing,” she says of recording covers. “You don’t want to make a karaoke record. You don’t want it to sound exactly like the original and then you don’t also want to make it so different that it’s unrecognizable because these songs are sacred to a lot of people.”
On particular track “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” (by Otis Redding), McBride chooses to strip away the horns and focus on the melody and a gentle guitar track. “Like the song is so intimate, I picture the song as two people alone in a bedroom, you know, talking about a pivotal moment in their relationship. And so my instinct told me that it should be kind of quiet and intimate, like you’re listening in on a conversation.”
“Everlasting” will also include covers of Sam Cooke’s “Bring It on Home to Me,” “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes and “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” by Jimmy Ruffin.
“These songs have beautiful melodies and emotional lyrics, which is basically all you can ask for as a singer,” McBride previously spoke of the new set. “While this is a bit of a departure for me song-wise, stylistically I approached these songs the way I always have, which is singing with as much soul and emotion as I possibly can.
“I think my fans will love this record because they are some of the best songs of all time done in a very classic style. I’m so excited for them to hear it and to take this record, complete with a horn section, on the road in the spring.”
Here is the album tracklist:
1. Do Right Woman, Do Right Man/ Original Artist: Aretha Franklin
2. If You Don’t Know Me By Now/ Original Artist: Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
3. Suspicious Minds/ Original Artist: Elvis Presley
4. Little Bit Of Rain/ Original Artist: Fred Neil
5. Bring It On Home To Me (duet with Gavin DeGraw)/ Original Artist: Sam Cooke
6. Come See About Me/ Original Artist: The Supremes
7. What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted/ Original Artist: Jimmy Ruffin
8. I’ve Been Loving You Too Long/ Original Artist: Otis Redding
9. Wild Night/ Original Artist: Van Morrison
10. In The Basement (duet with Kelly Clarkson)/ Original Artist: Etta James and Sugar Pie DeSanto
11. My Babe/ Original Artist: Little Walter
12. To Know Him Is To Love Him/ Original Artist: The Teddy Bears
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