News | Country superstar Martina McBride gears up for Freedom Over Texas

July 02, 2013

By Joey Guerra | The Houston Chronicle

Original Article

Martina McBride recorded "Independence Day" almost two decades ago. It wasn't a commercial smash, but the domestic-abuse anthem - framed with a fiery arrangement perfect for this week's festivities - has become a signature song. It also set the tone for future material that still connects with female fans.

The country star headlines Thursday's Southwest Freedom Over Texas extravaganza alongside Sheryl Crow. The lineup also includes Grammy nominee Tamar Davis, "The Voice" contestant Savannah Berry, "American Idol" semifinalist Vincent Powell and Emily Bell. In advance of the big show, McBride talked July Fourth memories, new music and more.

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Q: What's the Fourth of July experience been like in the past?

A: We've played a lot of shows on Fourth of July. For a few years, we went back to my hometown, to Sharon, Kan. It's a really tiny little town of about 150 people. (Husband) John (McBride) and I put on a fireworks show for a few years. It started out as just a small thing and grew. When I was growing up, we'd go see fireworks. But I'm looking forward to this. It sounds amazing.

Q: Are you prepared for the sweltering Houston heat?

A: There's something about playing music outdoors that's really special. It's summer, and it just seems like it goes hand in hand. I know it's been hot, but we're ready for it. It's part of the experience. It just feels like the right thing to do. It's summer; there should be music, people outside.

Q: Do you approach big shows like this with a different mind-set?

A: The bigger shows you need to kind of keep moving along. It's harder to play more intimate ballads or talk a lot. You want to keep the energy going. The crowd in a theater kind of settles in and listens to the show. A show like the one we're doing on the Fourth, people are there to have a party.

Q: What's the last outdoor concert you've attended as a fan?

A: You know, I don't think I've been to an outdoor show since I was a kid. I might go to a couple of shows at Bonnaroo this year. I've never been. Wait - I take that back. I went to see Paul McCartney in New York at what used to be Shea Stadium two or three years ago. It was unbelievable. And I went and saw the Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw show in L.A. I guess I have been to some outdoor shows, come to think of it.

Q: Houston has been a pivotal stop for you - particularly because of RodeoHouston, which you've played 11 times.

A: I've just always felt so at home there. Great fans. I love it. And then with George (in March), the fact that it's his last tour, and this is George Strait - there are a lot of things that go into making it a pretty amazing energy in the room. The whole tour was like a dream.

Q: What are your must-haves on the road?

A: I have to have really good coffee. I just like a really strong, bold coffee. I really like to get it from local coffeehouses wherever I go. I'm pretty low maintenance, honestly. My husband drinks a lot of Dr Pepper. Maybe he's the diva. We have a special ice machine on the bus. He loves Sonic ice. We researched it and got an ice maker as close to the Sonic ice machine as we could possibly find.

Q: So many of your songs - "Independence Day," "A Broken Wing," "This Ones for the Girls" "I'm Gonna Love You Through It" - have become anthems for female fans.

A: It's interesting. I swear to God, I do not set out to find those songs. I don't ever have that in mind when I make a record. They just find me. When you hear a song like ("I'm Gonna Love You Through It"), for me, as an artist, as a person, a human being, it just connects with me in a way that I think, "I wanna sing that song for people." It's really not a conscious plan or thought. It's just kind of instinct.

Q: Will we be hearing new music anytime soon?

A: I am making a new album. I start to record in August. I'm really excited about it. It's a little bit of a different direction for me. It's gonna be fun. I'd love to talk to you about it when it's time.

The Houston Chronicle, July 2, 2013