- 2010, The Zac Brown Band album “The Foundation” goes double-platinum
- 2003, Brad Paisley’s “Celebrity” video–featuring cameos by Jason Alexander, Jim Belushi, Little Jimmy Dickens, Trista Rehn and William Shatner–premieres on CMT’s “Most Wanted Live”
- 1978, Columbia releases Willie Nelson’s “Stardust” album
- 1969, Glen Campbell goes to #1 on the Billboard country singles chart with the Jimmy Webb song “Galveston”
- 2013, Willie Nelson’s 80th birthday is celebrated with a “CMT Crossroads” taping at Third Man Records. On hand are Sheryl Crow, Jack White, Neil Young, Leon Russell, Norah Jones, Ashley Monroe and Jamey Johnson
- 2003, Dierks Bentley makes his Grand Ole Opry debut
- 1988, MCA releases Reba McEntire’s “Reba” album
- 1939, Gene Autry records “Back In The Saddle Again” in Los Angeles for the western movie “Rovin’ Tumbleweeds”
Latest Album Features Interpretations of Classic Songs
Martina McBride‘s Everlasting will debut this week at No. 1 on Billboard‘s country albums chart, at least temporarily interrupting the dominance of two blockbuster albums — Luke Bryan‘s Crash My Party and Florida Georgia Line‘s Here’s to the Good Times.
It’s a formidable achievement for McBride, especially as the first project on her own label. She’s certainly been working hard to promote the project, including appearances on Today, The Arsenio Hall Show, VH1′s Big Morning Buzz and as part of the CMT Listen Up performance series.
Everlasting raises an interesting question, though. What’s up with Martina McBride singing covers of Little Walter, Etta James, Otis Redding, Van Morrison and Motown greats like the Supremes and Jimmy Ruffin?
With guest appearances by Kelly Clarkson and Gavin DeGraw, the short answer is that she’s continuing to explore her musical inspirations which extend far beyond the covers of Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Connie Smith, Lynn Anderson and others she recorded for her 2005 all-country album, Timeless.
During an interview at CMT’s office in Nashville, McBride talked about putting together the project.
CMT.com: In a way, this sort of seems like a long-awaited sequel to your Timeless album.
McBride: I saw similarities, definitely, when I was recording and finding songs — just the process of finding songs and the feeling of wanting to do them justice and sort of a reverence for the original.
How many songs were on your short list to record?
I went in with “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” (Aretha Franklin), “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” (Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes) and “To Know Him Is to Love Him” (the Teddy Bears). … I had five or six songs that I went in with. Then (Van Morrison’s) “Wild Night” came kind sort of spontaneously. (The Supremes’) “Come See About Me,” we stumbled upon that on iTunes and went, “That’s fun. Let’s do that.”
Don Was produced the album. How long have you known him?
I worked with him a long time ago on a duet with Bob Seger on the Hope Floats soundtrack, but I don’t really remember the process of working with him. It was a long time ago, and I think I’d just had a baby, so I was probably in a fog. So I really met him, for all practical purposes, right before I made this album. I flew to L.A. to talk to him about making the record. We wanted to get together to see if we were on the same page songwise and musically. I met him for lunch. Then I went to his office, and we just listened to music all afternoon. When I left, he said, “I really want to make this record.”
Was his work with Bonnie Raitt a factor in wanting him to produce the album?
Definitely. He’s worked with a lot of people I admire, but the record he made with Bonnie — Nick of Time — was just a masterpiece. I loved that record, so he’s sort of been on my radar ever since.
Compared to producers and musicians in Nashville, does he approach things differently in the studio?
He’s very laid-back. He sits out in the room with the band. We all recorded in one room, and he was sitting out there with them listening. He’s very musical, so even though he does sometimes get meticulous, it’s not necessarily about every note being right. It’s about the feel of the thing which, to me, is just such a musical way and such a free way to making a record.
Two of the most obscure songs on the album are Fred Neil’s “Little Bit of Rain” and Etta James’ “In the Basement.”
I worked with an amazing A&R person on this record. Her name is Monica Lynch. She’s from New York. We worked for six or seven months, just sending songs back and forth.
She must have really good instincts. Most people, if they say they want to record a Fred Neil song, they’ll immediately choose “Everybody’s Talking.”
She’s really good. Scary good. Vast knowledge of all kinds of music. That song was a little bit different because it was a little more folk than soul. I loved the song when Linda Ronstadt did it with the Stone Poneys, and Amos Lee did a really beautiful version of it. The thing about this record is that you have to find songs that fit your voice and feel good.
What’s it like exposing these songs to a new audience?
My mom and dad got the record, and the first thing that came out was “If You Don’t Know Me by Now.” They said, “Who did that song originally?” … They wanted to see how my version was different. When I made Timeless, I thought, “Everybody knows this music. Everybody knows ‘Today I Started Loving You Again.’” And then I realized, “Oh, no. Not everybody knows this music.’ But they discovered it. When I did the Timeless tour, I looked out and saw these young kids singing along to “Rose Garden,” so it was cool.
Is it daunting to tackle a song that was originally sung by Teddy Pendergrass or Aretha Franklin?
I don’t know if “daunting” is the right word. I never felt overwhelmed that I can remember. I’ll probably look back in my journal and was completely overwhelmed about 90 percent of the time! The trick is, of course, is to not make a karaoke record. Sometimes with Timeless, I felt like I did stick so close to the originals. With this record, I think we took more liberties. You don’t want to make a karaoke record, but you also don’t want to make it unrecognizable. You have to have a reverence of the original but then try to make it your own in some way.
- 2010, Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins’ “Hillbilly Bone,” produced by Scott Hendricks, receives the Vocal Event of the Year award from the Academy of Country Music at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas
- 2004, The Judds make their Grand Ole Opry debut, performing “Flies On The Butter (You Can’t Go Home Again)” and “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Old Days)”
- 1976, “Drinkin’ My Baby (Off My Mind)” brings Eddie Rabbitt his first #1 country single as an artist in Billboard magazine
- 1970, Johnny Cash plays the White House with June Carter and The Statler Brothers. Cash declines president Nixon’s request to do Merle Haggard’s “Okie From Muskogee” but does perform “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Peace In The Valley” and “What Is Truth”
- 2010, Alan Jackson is honored with a star at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
- 2007, Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” video swipes three trophies at the CMT Music Awards, held at Belmont University’s Curb Events Center in Nashville. Among other victors are Jack Ingram, Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift, Sugarland and Kenny Chesney
- 1999, Shania Twain becomes the first woman named Songwriter/Artist of the Year in the Nashville Songwriter Achievement Awards. Phil Vassar wins Songwriter, and Song of the Year is a tie: “Holes In The Floor Of Heaven” and “Don’t Laugh At Me”
- 1969, “Hello…I’m Johnny Cash.” Cash tapes the first of his ABC-TV weekly shows at the Ryman Auditorium, kicking off with “Folsom Prison Blues.” The show, which features guests Glen Campbell, Jeannie C. Riley and Joe Tex, becomes the fifth episode aired
Keith Urban’s daughters are still a little young to be choosing a career path. And Urban himself is a bit of reluctant proud father, bragging only about his two girls when he is pushed to do so. But after a recent conference call with Urban, it’s pretty obvious he has created two little music lovers.
“Well, they love ‘Let It Go,’ of course,” Urban admitted about the Academy Award-winning song from the 2013 Disney animated film Frozen. “Right now, that’s the No. 1 song.”
Urban added that Sunday and Faith really do like all sorts of songs.
“They tend to just sing to whatever is on the radio. We play the radio a lot in the car, and they respond to different things, but up-tempo things they particularly love,” he said.
And when the radio’s not on, the iPod probably is.
“Sunday is 5 and a-half and Faith is 3, so you never know what they are going to be cranking in their room,” he said. “They have an iPod in their room that they play a lot, so I love that there is music coming from their bedroom all the time.”
So it’s probably safe to say there is a lot of music appreciation going on in Urban’s house. But it also sounds like there might be some music lessons. Even some very early, beginner-level ones. When Urban was asked if he was teaching Faith to play the guitar, he laughed a little before admitting that he kind of is.
“I don’t know if I really am teaching her to play guitar, but she can sort of mimic a little bit of what I am doing strumming-wise,” he said. “That’s really what I am trying to teach her. She’s only 3. But what I love is how she gravitates towards the guitar. She’s got a little pink guitar. She will go get it and hold it, and she sits with it right, and she strums with it right, and I hope she keeps going with that because it does seem to be something that she reaches for.”
Sounds like it won’t be long now before Faith has her own imaginary band. I wonder how Urban will feel if she paints the band’s name on their garage?
- 2004, Big & Rich stage a parade in Nashville as they shoot the video for “Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy).” Also taking part are Gretchen Wilson, Gary Chapman and the Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders
- 1998, CMT airs the first live concert in the network’s history, featuring Faith Hill, plus Tim McGraw, Vince Gill and singer/songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman
- 1989, Dolly Parton is the guest host and musical guest on “Saturday Night Live.” She sings “Why’d You Come In Here Lookin’ Like That”
- 1963, Decca releases Patsy Cline’s “Sweet Dreams (Of You),” five weeks after her death in a plane crash
Martina McBride looks outside of country for a new album of covers called Everlasting. She puts her spin on soul and R&B classics by Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Etta James and many more. The album also features guest appearances from pop stars Gavin DeGraw and Kelly Clarkson.
With her powerhouse vocals and willingness to tackle tough issues through music, McBride has certainly helped inspire a new generation of female country stars in her own right. But with Everlasting, the song stylist looks back on her own beginnings which, noticeably, are not strictly country.
But with its sound grounded in qualities of strength and emotion, Everlasting isn’t as much of a stretch as one might think.
“The songs have such beautiful melodies and such great lyrics,” McBride told CMT Hot 20 Countdown. “They’re so emotional and soulful. I really approached this record in a way, like I do every other record, which is just interpreting the lyrics and feeling it and making it as emotional and heartfelt as I can. I still sound like me. It’s not like I sound like a totally different person, even though I’m singing a little bit of a different kind of music.”
Admittedly, though, taking on this project was a daunting task. McBride knew the legendary history of each track on the record.
“Covering ‘Do Right Woman, Do Right Man,’ it’s an Aretha Franklin song, and she’s just so amazing,” McBride said. “We also had the songwriter in the studio. When we recorded it, he came by, and he had been at the original session where Aretha recorded it, so it was like, ‘I better get this right.’ You don’t want to mess it up in front of the songwriter, especially when he’s heard Aretha sing it.”
For CMT-exclusive performances from the album, go to Martinamcbride.cmt.com. And tune into CMT Hot 20 Countdown this Saturday and Sunday (April 12-13) at 11 a.m. ET/PT.
- 2008, Kellie Pickler wins three trophies during the CMT Music Awards at Belmont University’s Curb Events Center in Nashville
- 1998, Shania Twain joins Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Gloria Estefan and Carole King at New York’s Beacon Theatre for a taping of “VH1 Divas Live,” with all six singers combining talents on “Natural Woman (You Make Me Feel Like)”
- 1986, Alabama wins Entertainer of the Year for a record fifth straight time at the 21st annual Academy of Country Music awards, aired by NBC from Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California. The band also collects its sixth straight Top Vocal Group trophy
- 1964, Fiddler Stuart Duncan is born in Quantico, Virginia. He joins The Nashville Bluegrass Band, and plays on numerous country hits, including Faith Hill’s “Breathe,” The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young” and Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!”
- 1932, Loretta Lynn is born in Butcher Holler, Kentucky. Noted for her honest songwriting, she becomes the first woman to win the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year award in 1972, landing in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988
- 2012, Jana Kramer performs “Why Ya Wanna” as she makes her Grand Ole Opry debut
- 2005, Willie Nelson’s attorney sends a Texas senator a letter declining to have a toll road named for the singer. Nelson later tells The Austin American-Statesman, “I’d put my name on an electric chair, too, but I don’t think that’d be too great a thing”
- 2003, Prisoner of war Patrick Miller is rescued in Iraq after several weeks in captivity, during which he annoyed the enemy by loudly singing Toby Keith’s “Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue (The Angry American)”
- 1970, Bettie Azevedez picks up five trophies on behalf of Merle Haggard in the Academy Of Country & Western Music awards at the Hollywood Palladium: Single Record, Song and Album of the Year, for “Okie From Muskogee”; Top Male Vocalist and Top Touring Band
- 1963, Bill Anderson goes to #1 on the Billboard country chart with his biggest hit, “Still”