Reba McEntire Shares Her Faith Through Music

Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope Now Available

One of the greatest pieces of advice Reba McEntire has ever followed is simple: be on time and know your stuff.

It’s solid wisdom she picked up following the career of the late Hollywood legend Barbara Stanwyck, who was known for her punctuality and preparedness in any acting role she landed. Those who are new to Stanwyck’s work, her filmography spans Hollywood’s Golden Age and includes 1931’s The Miracle Woman, 1937’s Stella Dallas, 1941’s The Lady Eve and 1945’s Christmas in Connecticut.

McEntire loved watching Stanwyck play Victoria Barkley in the ‘60s western TV series The Big Valley.

“I was just a huge fan,” McEntire said. “I have her autobiography. I would read newspaper clips and articles on her. And also, when I was watching her movies on television, they would talk about Barbara and how she was the most professional person to ever work with because she was always on time, maybe a little bit early. On time for her was early.”

Following the Stanwyck code of professionalism is a small part of what makes McEntire one of the most successful recording artists in history. She has never been the kind of artist who wastes anyone’s time.

The call time for our CMT.com interview with McEntire was 3:15 p.m. and the phone rang early at 3:06 with her recognizable down-home Oklahoma accent coming through clear as a bell. Ten minutes were given to cover everything she has going on.

“Reba, Brooks & Dunn: Together in Vegas” returns to The Colosseum at Caesars on Feb. 22. She makes her headlining debut at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on Feb. 15. She has a country music MasterClass online and a new drama coming to ABC.

But the conversation was mostly about her first faith-based double-disc set Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope, released Friday (Feb. 3). Album one is comprised of new arrangements of 10 traditional hymns, while album two features 10 new inspirational originals, including “I Got the Lord on My Side,” which McEntire co-wrote with her mother Jacqueline McEntire. Toward the end of the chat, she mentioned she doesn’t see herself writing more original music anytime soon. She is clearly juggling several projects at the moment.

“What I write comes to me when I’m inspired,” she said. “And it could be driving down the road or out walking, and I have to repeat it until I get back to the house and write it down or sing it into my phone.”

CMT.com: What was it like writing “I Got the Lord on My Side” with your mom?

McEntire: It was wonderful. I had already written the song, and we went into the studio to record it. We went into the control room and mama was sitting there. The band went back in to get ready to perform it again and she said, “Can I make a suggestion?” I said, “Well, sure.” She said, “You’re always saying, ‘I’ve got the Lord on my side. I’m so happy.’” Why don’t your change the second verse to be, “If you’re happy, you got the Lord on your side.” I said, “Wow! That’s great. Why didn’t I think of that?” That’s how mama became co-writer on the song.

“Softly and Tenderly” with Kelly Clarkson and Trisha Yearwood is a beautiful performance. How does your friendship with Kelly and Trisha bring out the best in you?

It’s really cool to get to sing with people who can sing. I’ve known Kelly since 2002 and I’ve known Trisha, gosh, maybe 26 years? Oh, Lord — maybe longer than that. When she first got started in the music business, that’s how long I’ve known her. So when you get to sing with your good girlfriends and you’ve got a long friendship, that’s what makes that so special.

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