OFFSTAGE: Why Martina McBride Made Eleven in Atlanta

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

It kind of came down to the dishwasher. When Martina McBride was telling me about how cool it was to produce her new album, Eleven, at the Southern Tracks studio in Atlanta, as opposed to Nashville where she’s made all her other records, she said it really helped her be creative. “Being able to focus and have the head space to let that creativity happen was so important for me,’ she said. Doing it closer to home, she knows, doesn’t work quite as well. “You come home from recording, and you walk in your house and you see everything that needs to be done,” she told me while we were aboard her cross-country train ride to promote the album. “You think, ’I cannot believe nobody unloaded the dishwasher. There’s laundry to do. Are there clothes for school? What will I make for supper tonight, because there’s no food in the house?’ All that leaves very little room for thinking, ’How do I be creative with this album?'” So being away from that meant less juggling and more focusing. According to McBride, it made a huge difference. Even her three daughters encouraged her to go out of town to record. “They know they come first for me. But I just sat them down and told them this is a really important album for me and for my career — that I really need to give it all my attention,” she said. Their response? “You should totally do that, Mom. Don’t worry about us. We’ll be fine.” No word on whether or not they ever emptied the dishwasher.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.