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.