Reba’s Rebirth: McEntire on Returning to the Charts With No Inhibitions
What ran through your mind when Scott Borchetta told you he and Cumulus were starting Nash Icon Records and you were the first person he wanted to sign?
Well, I was flattered to death. [Borchetta’s wife] Sandi and Scott took Narvel [Blackstock, McEntire’s husband and manager] and me out to dinner at Kayne Prime in Nashville and I was about to jump out of my skin. Ordered drinks, got a little appetizer. . . I said, “Scott, spill the beans. What’s going on?” and he told me about it, and he said, “Would you want to record another album?” I sat there for a little bit, and I said, “Well, you’ve got all my old stuff.” He said, “We want to play new stuff.” I said, “I’m in,” and on the way home, I emailed [Big Machine Label Group senior VP of A&R] Allison Jones. I said, “Girl, get busy, we’re going back in the studio.”
What was your strategy when hunting for new songs?
Just try to find the best songs possible. It’s the same formula that I’ve always had. When I got the whole group and recorded everything, somebody said, “The underlying thing to this whole deal is love — good or bad. Going into or coming out of it, it’s all about love.” That’s why Love Somebody was the perfect title.
There‘s also a lot about loneliness on here.
Well, in a way, that’s loss of love. . . or looking for it. Trying to keep it, trying to hang on to it.
One of the saddest on here, even though it ultimately has a happy ending, is “Loveland.” A girl feels like she has to get married because she‘s pregnant.
When I first heard it, I had a lot of sympathy for her. I took it as a very Southern song where Momma says, “Aren’t you supposed to get married, girl?” That’s all that needed to be said. There wasn’t any long lecture. There [weren’t] any grudges to be held. It was just that one sentence, and she says, “Yes, ma’am.”
Then she loses the baby and thinks God is punishing her for having premarital sex, which is pretty harsh.
Everything had gone bad in her life. Yeah, that was sad, but then for her to have the little boy, and now they’re so happy. I always love a happy ending. Tom Douglas is such an incredible songwriter.
“Just Like Them Horses” is one of the more emotional songs on the album and was played at your father‘s funeral. How did you get through recording it?
Daddy had been sick three or four years, really bad. [After a stroke], he was in a coma for a long time. He woke up and came home, and then he was in rehab and back in the hospital and the nursing home. Mama just couldn’t take care of him. He was so ready to go, and I was ready for him to go because he’s a very proud man, and for him to be there laying and suffering and hurting so bad in pain, it was a blessing when he did go. So I kept thinking about that, and “Just Like Them Horses,” let them run.
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