LeAnn Rimes' latest triumph This Woman -- which debuted at Number Three this week -- was aided by her ability to reach back to an era that ended before she was born.
"I was inspired by a lot of Sixties and Seventies rock, country and blues for this record," says Rimes, citing Janis Joplin as a particular influence. "That era was really soulful, and they were really organic records. There was not a lot of production -- it was just about the singer and great musicians, great songs and great lyrics."
Above all, Rimes sees This Woman as her return to country music after a couple of forays into crossover pop. "I was really finding my own sound on this record, blending all different styles and basing it on country," says Rimes, 22, who moved to Nashville a little over a year ago. "It's my kind of country music."
This Woman also continues Rimes' evolution from the "little girl with the big voice" who first grabbed America's attention nearly a decade ago and then had to battle her label and father for control of her career. "I think the title says it all," says the two-time Grammy winner. "Every album is a different stage in my life, especially as someone who started out at thirteen. You've seen every stage of my childhood and growing into adulthood, and now being a woman."
Rimes teamed with husband Dean Sheremet to write the NASCAR ode "I Got It Bad," their answer to the racing organization's slogan "How Bad Have You Got It?" She also sings about their relationship in the intimate "When This Woman Loves a Man," which she co-wrote, and "Some People."
"Being in love the past four years has been such a gift," Rimes says. "'Some People' was one of those magical moments in the studio. After one time through, I was crying through the end of the song, knowing that something really magical just happened."