It was 16 years ago that actress-singer Lisa Hartman Black very reluctantly went into a recording studio to lend her voice to what would become a chart-topping, ACM award-winning hit.
“It was four days from the deadline when I guilted her into it,” Clint Black tells Rolling Stone Country of convincing his wife to record the romantic “When I Said I Do” with him. “Then she said she wasn’t going on The Tonight Show, but she did that. She said, ‘I’m not doing it live!’ But she did that, too.”
When he turned in the song along with its full album, 1999’s D’lectrified, to RCA Records, label executives had no idea who was singing with the country superstar. “They were guessing Trisha [Yearwood], Martina [McBride],” he recalls. “They couldn’t figure it out.”
So with comparisons to such vocal powerhouses building her confidence, Hartman Black was featured even more prominently alongside her husband on 2001’s “Easy for Me to Say,” a duet on his Greatest Hits II album. But it took another 14 years for the pair to reunite in song again, harmonizing on the autobiographical “You Still Get to Me” for Black’s new On Purpose album, out today (September 25th).
“When her voice comes in, it really does something to me,” says Black of the swooning track, which he co-wrote with Victoria Shaw.
“You Still Get to Me,” making its exclusive premiere on Rolling Stone Country today, is On Purpose‘s sole duet but one of several heartfelt tunes on the album, joining such tracks as the reflective “One Way to Live” (written with Steve Wariner) and stinging “Stay Gone.” Balancing those out is the Texas native’s sense of humor. On “Better or Worse,” which is already getting call-and-answer responses from live audiences, he resigns himself to the fact that life isn’t always that of a multi-platinum-selling country star. . . because his money is “in her purse” anyway.
His 21st studio album, On Purpose was a labor of love for Black, who wrote or co-wrote every track and helped produce and mix the songs, along with playing everything from slide guitar to harmonica. It’s the lauded musician’s first LP of new tunes in a decade.