2016’s “Reckless” is the first full-on country album Martina McBride has released since “Eleven” in 2011. But McBride, who will perform Thursday at the Durham Performing Arts Center, hasn’t been inactive.
She also recorded 2014’s “Everlasting,” a satisfying hodgepodge of covers ranging from Philly Soul (Gamble and Huff’s “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”) to Motown (the Supreme’s “Come See About Me”) to iconic cuts (Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long.”)
“It was a labor of love,” McBride says. “I didn’t discover those songs as a child but when I did find them later on, I just loved them. Recording songs outside of country music was good for me. I think it’s healthy to change things up. It was good for me to make ‘Everlasting’ on so many levels.”
For McBride, 50, “Everlasting” was the perfect bridge to “Reckless.”
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The album, which dropped last April, is filled with warm, stylish and earnest songs. “Some of what I do on this album takes me back to what I did during the ’90s,” McBride says. “I felt very comfortable with these songs.” She’s joined by Keith Urban on the song “Diamond.” “I love the way our voices sound together. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was that Keith made time for me since he’s so busy.”
McBride doesn’t have a songwriting credit on “Reckless,” but a number of the new tunes are some of the most personal songs she has ever recorded. “I listened to song after song and picked what would work best for me,” McBride says. “I found some really rootsy songs.”
But it’s not just about who wrote the songs, it’s about McBride’s voice and delivery. McBride has impressed for 30 years courtesy of her lovely soprano, and she has enjoyed considerable success. She has sold over 14 million albums, has 14 Grammy Award nominations and has won the Country Music Association’s “Female Vocalist of the Year” award four times.
“It’s been amazing,” McBride says. “I’m incredibly thankful. I don’t take one bit of this for granted. My fans have stayed with me over all of these years. So much has changed in the world since I started this. I’m just glad to still be here making albums and touring. I love going out on the road and performing. That’s something that has never changed for me.”
Who: Martina McBride (Lauren Alaina opens)
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Durham Performing Arts Center, 123 Vivian St., Durham
Info: 919-680-2787 or dpacnc.com