But, even as she was admitted backstage, she was in for another surprise. “We went in and they came to me and said, ‘Reba, sorry, but we're going to have take one of your two songs.’ I said, ‘Why?’ They said, ‘Dolly Parton just pulled in the parking lot and she's going to take one of your songs.’ I said, 'Shoot, she can take both of them. Can I meet her?' They said, 'No, we just need one of them.'
Dolly walked by and she was in this beautiful black pantsuit," McEntire continues. "Black chiffon with butterfly rhinestones on it, and her hair was just beautiful. I thought she was the most beautiful woman I ever saw in my life.” As it turned out, she did finally get her moment on stage. “I got my little outfit on, and I sang ‘Invitation to the Blues’ -- the Four Guys walked me out to the center of the stage and Charlie Walker introduced me.”
The singer will be returning to the Opry stage next Monday (November 27) to host the CMA Country Christmas special on ABC, something she's greatly excited by. “I'm going to get to be singing with some of my buddies, singing some of my songs, and MC’ing, playing the hostess on the TV show. I am really looking forward to it.”
She says that she loves the challenge of moving the show along. “When I go to the award shows, when you’re sitting in the audience, you know all the things that go behind the scenes, [about] when the producer and the director are telling you, 'We're running short, get out there. We're running long, get out there and do this.' I love the adrenaline of live television. It's fun, it's exciting.”
McEntire will likely be performing some of the music that’s included on her updated Yuletide disc, My Kind of Christmas. Originally released last year as a Cracker Barrel-exclusive disc, she has re-released the disc this season with a few new cuts. “We added ‘Silent Night,’ the song that Kelly Clarkson, Trisha Yearwood, and I got to do in '13 on her Christmas special. Then I added a song with Darius Rucker, ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem.’ We put ‘Back to God’ on it too with just a piano. I thought it's a message we need right now, give it back to God.
"Then I added Lauren Daigle on to it, and it's a totally different sound and feel, but it's the same message," she continues. "The fourth song that we added is ‘Mary Did You Know,’ and I asked Amy Grant and Vince Gill to sing on it with me, and that was a blast.”
McEntire says that Christmas music does have a calming effect on her, as she reasons it should. “It lightens my heart. It makes me feel very grateful that Jesus was born to one day die for our sins, and that we've got an opportunity to live, and what I choose is to pray for his will constantly, and that one day I'll be in heaven to see all my family that went before, and get to sit on the right-hand side of God.”
McEntire is mindful that the lyrical content of Sing It Now and My Kind Of Christmas is something that the world is in need of right now, especially considering the events of recent weeks. “It's very crucial to listen and search your heart and see how to improve it," she offers. It's a situation where we have no control over, and for us to think that we can fix things is pretty silly. I have a child who is in the race car business, and people say, "Don't you worry?" I say, "Oh no, I gave him up to God a long time ago. That's God's child. Whatever happens to Shelby and his racing, I'm confident God will take care of him. God will take care of (all of it).