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article imageReba: An exclusive interview with one of America's biggest stars Special

By Adrian Peel     May 26, 2015 in Music
"Love Somebody," the popular singer's most recent album, is currently riding high in the charts, as one would expect. She told Digital Journal all about it.
What can one say about Reba McEntire, famous enough, of course, to be known by her first name only, like Elvis, Madonna and Dolly? With more than 85 million records sold, over 90 awards won and a number one hit in each of the last four decades (the only lady in the genre to achieve this feat), this charismatic Oklahoman is officially the most successful female country vocalist of all time.
Released in April, the talkative redhead's new studio album - her 27th to date - received rave reviews from a number of magazines and websites, including this one, and has deservedly been hovering around the Top Five of the Billboard Country Album chart ever since, after it had unsurprisingly gone straight in at number one - the 12th number one album of her career.
I caught up with the dynamic entertainer, whose gregarious speaking voice seems so reassuringly familiar, at a studio in Nashville and began by asking after her elder brother, Pake, who is currently in hospital following a stroke.
"Oh, thank you very much for asking. We got a really good report this morning... He's still unconsciousness, you know, but he's doing better, he's responding better, so we are very hopeful he's gonna wake up real soon and just want some gravy and mashed potatoes to eat, or something - a good steak. We're just really encouraged by his progress."
On the subject of what she's been up to since the album came out, the Country Music Hall of Famer (inducted in 2011) states, "Well we've been promoting the album. We've been in Los Angeles and New York City promoting it on television and different radio things, and here in Nashville also. Staying busy with it, doing a few shows around the country..."
Love Somebody, Reba's first long-player since 2010's All the Women I Am, is a collection of 12 brand new tracks - 14 on the Deluxe Edition - and was produced by Tony Brown, who has also worked with, among others, George Strait, Brooks & Dunn, Trisha Yearwood and Vince Gill.
"It has both," replies the woman of many talents, a role model to millions of aspiring performers, suggesting that the record is a mixture of the older, more traditional country sound and the newer, 'poppier' direction. "It's an eclectic group of sounds, emotions... To me, there's only two kinds of music: good and bad, and I try to stay away from the bad."
Even on first listen, Love Somebody appears to contain quite a few tunes with a positive message - "Livin' Ain't Killed Me Yet," "I'll Go On," etc. "I totally agree," concurs the Queen of Country Music.
"It's very positive... 'Going Out Like That,' this girl's been dumped in a relationship and probably her partner was expecting her to stay home and cry, but she's not going to - she's going to get out and have a good time. So it's power anthems for women, it's uplifting, it's encouraging, it's faith, hope all combined in an album."
My personal favourite out of all the songs is "Just Like Them Horses," a beautiful ballad the artist sang at her father's funeral in October last year, but I'm also very fond of "More Than Just Her Last Name," one of the bonus tracks on the Deluxe Edition.
"Oh, that's a Brandy Clark song... It's one of those story songs that she is so good at writing and it's sad but it has a happy ending. It's about a woman who expected more out of life. She expected more than just her last name to change when she got married."
One of the most moving moments is track 12, "Pray for Peace," which is the only song this time around that Reba wrote herself (established tunesmiths, such as Rhett Akins, Shane McAnally, Tommy Lee James and the above-mentioned Brandy Clark were entrusted with providing the bulk of the material).
"I wrote that a couple of years ago," she recalls. "I was out walking one day and I was praying and I said, 'Lord, what do you want me to do next, what's my next project?' He said, 'Pray for peace,' so I started praying for peace and then I started singing 'pray for peace, pray for peace.'
"After a little while I said, 'Lord, what do you want me to do now?' and he said, 'I want you to record it,' so I went in and I recorded it and wrote some more lyrics to it. Then my team at Starstruck had the idea of getting the fans to send in their videos of making the praying sign and then the peace sign.
"We did a video and I said, 'Lord, what do you want me to do with it now?' and he said, 'I want you to give it away,' so we made the video and put it out on YouTube. I wanted to put it on the album as just one of the songs that I thought was very special and heartfelt and a gift from God."
Love Somebody is out now and can be purchased from iTunes.
Reba is set to perform a series of shows at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas with Brooks & Dunn from June 17th to July 4th.
For more information on this country legend, and to view her upcoming tour dates, visit her official website.
More about reba mcentire, love somebody, Country music, tony brown, george strait
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