When Martina McBride releases her eleventh studio album (appropriately titled "Eleven") on Oct. 11, it will mark her very first project for Republic Nashville -- after a very successful run with RCA.
Releasing her first album, "The Time Has Come," back in 1992, McBride has carved out quite a history at RCA. Twenty of her singles for the label hit the top ten on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, with five going all the way to the top. So, moving to a new label is akin to a new beginning for McBride.
"Well, it does reflect a new start," she said in an exclusive interview with Billboard.com. "Being with a label for so long, switching over to a new label is a big change. I'm loving it," she says emphatically.
Of course, the adrenaline flow that comes from label chief Scott Borchetta is quite contagious, she says. "That has a lot to do with it - him and his reputation. He and Jimmy Harnen, and they're very passionate about music. They're very aggressive. I love the way they do business."
"Eleven" was co-produced by McBride, along with veteran producer Byron Gallimore. Of working with him, she said that "It was great. He's very easy going, and very laid back. He's a very good listener. He's very musical with a lot of great ideas. When we started working together, I told him I wanted to make this record a certain way. I felt like he heard me, he listened, and I felt like we came out with the product that we started out to make."
And, what kind of record was that? "I really wanted to make a record that was organic and rootsy - not a lot of production, not a lot of layers - just simple and straight-forward," she confirmed.
One such song that falls in that category is the lead-off single "Teenage Daughters," which could be compared to some of Loretta Lynn's mid-70s work as "Rated X" and "One's On The Way." And, there are some other departures on Eleven, as well.
"You Can Get Your Lovin' Right Here" has a very confident, sensual swagger that she pulls off very convincingly. "I wrote that with Leslie Satcher and Rachel Thibodeaux," she said, allowing that "Leslie had the idea for the song. She said 'I want you to do something sexy and different. She played a little bit of the idea, and I just loved it. It is different for me, but it also feels very comfortable and natural."
Another natural fit on the album is "Marry Me," a collaboration with Pat Monahan from the pop-rock group Train. "We did CMT Crossroads together, and we did 'Marry Me,' of course it was their single at the time, and obviously, not a duet," she admits. "We decided to do is as a duet where people are not really talking in the song, they're dreaming of talking to each other. We decided to keep it separate and come together at the very end, which was very different for a duet. Usually, you trade lines or sing together throughout the song. When we did it, it was such a great moment in the show, and Pat came down to Atlanta and recorded it with me in the studio- face to face, with us singing it at the same time. It was a really magical moment."
To celebrate the release of "Eleven," McBride will be teaming up with Amtrak for a unique promotion that will get her out among the record buying public.
"We've partnered up with Amtrak to release the album across America, and get out there with fans. Usually during launch week, we wind up in New York or Los Angeles, we'll do some television, and that's about it. This is a little different. We're doing eleven stops across America, and three of those will be performances, and the rest will be press conference style meet and greets with the fans," she exclaims.
With two decades of success under her belt as a vocalist, McBride is now influencing aspiring female vocalists the way that she was once inspired. "It's very flattering. I grew up singing in my bedroom to Linda Rondstadt, Pat Benatar and Reba McEntire. I hope that I can be an inspiration to someone who is coming up in this business. It is a tough business, especially for women. I feel like to be an example of someone who can do it and do it with style and grace, and hopefully set an example for others is a great thing!"