Stronger Than The Truth
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McEntire released her twenty-ninth studio album Stronger Than the Truth on April 5, 2019.
A couple years back, McEntire seemed gleefully aware of the options newly available to her when she put her own glossy spin on a collection of hymns, gospel spirituals and inspirational numbers. Now, on Stronger Than the Truth, she's made the inspired choice to circle back — not to her forebears, but to a crucial approach from her own recording career. The new album's polished warmth, narrative poignancy and modern honky-tonk heartache in some ways hearkens back to the 1984 set My Kind of Country, which helped establish her name and musical identity. The producer McEntire chose this time, Buddy Cannon, sang harmony on that '80s breakthrough, helmed her first album of the '00s and has become a Nashville go-to for easeful, expert angles on traditionalism.
McEntire hails from a generation of country superstars for whom lyrics aren't vehicles for specific autobiographical disclosure so much as broadly accessible sentiments. Still, given that she recently weathered a high-profile divorce from her former manager, plenty of people will listen to these dozen songs — more than half of which unfurl tales of a shattered belief in love — with that subtext in mind. McEntire speaks in the most general terms about using her music as an outlet for her pain, but her album is every bit as much a work of self-possessed re-centering.
She sounds the cheekiest and most lighthearted during a pair of western-swing tracks: "No U in Oklahoma," a kiss-off that name-checks her native state, and "Swing All Night Long With You," which contains nearly two full minutes of frisky fiddle, piano, hollow-body guitar and steel solos.
Mostly, though, McEntire focuses on telling stories of domestic betrayal in grand yet thoroughly grounded fashion. In the title track, her protagonist describes modest desires that were met, only to be dashed after she'd come to count on them. "I never dreamed of wanting more than a small-town, simple life," McEntire sings, sounding subdued over a simple acoustic-guitar figure. "A little money in our pockets, 'You're my husband, I'm your wife' / But then I fell in icy water, standing in the grocery line / I overheard my name and yours and one I did not recognize." She opens the chorus with an exposed, dejected high note, and punctuates her phrases with distinctive curled vowels and melodic trills, making warm, expressive use of a timbre slightly thinned by the passage of time.
During the ballad "Tammy Wynette Kind of Pain," McEntire acknowledges that the suffering brought on by the revelation of a lover's cheating can be mortifyingly all-consuming. "This ain't no little-girl heartache," she insists, her delivery deflated. In the kind of nostalgic gesture that's not at all uncommon in country music, the chorus quotes from some of Wynette's best-known songs, but the immediacy and meaningful embellishment of McEntire's performance — the places where her voice flares or softens — render them a living lexicon of marital devastation. Before it's over, a keening swell of steel guitar leads into a key change and full-throated emoting.
"The Clown," a theatrical ballad in 6/8 time, opens with a dinner scene in which the protagonist learns that her partner is leaving. While she absorbs the world-rocking shock of that news, the world around her appears cruelly indifferent, persisting in its undisturbed normalcy. "I looked to the waiter for some consolation," she complains, with a touch of indignation in her phrasing. "But he just poured the coffee. And without hesitation, he said, 'Ma'am, is that all you'll be needing tonight?'"
"Cactus in a Coffee Can" has a tearjerker of a storyline. Flanked by the measured melancholy of refined, lyrical, contemporary-bluegrass-style accompaniment, McEntire relishes the role of an empathetic airline passenger. She's moved by the plight of the stranger seated next to her, who shares that she's toting the ashes of her birth mother, who couldn't raise her but with whom she'd reunited on her death bed.
But Stronger Than the Truth holds a sadder vignette still: a sleek, mid-tempo, hard country number titled "The Bar's Getting Lower." It's a barroom closing-time portrait of an aging woman who's haunted by the unattainable marriage-and-motherhood life script impressed upon her by her mother, and who surveys her diminished and disappointing options with crumbling confidence. The bridge is just 20 seconds long, but McEntire makes it a melodrama in miniature. "She could thank him for the drink and walk away / Live to love another day," she sings with fleeting conviction. Then her voice flares as she begins to fret: "But she's getting older / And the night's getting colder." For the final line, her delivery sinks and settles. "The bar's getting lower," she observes somberly, transforming "lower" into a distressing, six-syllable word. In a promotional video, McEntire said she'd admired the song for a while. "I hadn't recorded it before," she explained, "because I knew it was gonna hurt." But she's up to the task of going there, with seasoned perspective and without reservation.
Reba McEntire and Brooks & Dunn have added new dates to their Las Vegas residency for this coming winter.
McEntire, Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn are preparing for the first leg of their Las Vegas residency shows this summer. Reba, Brooks & Dunn: Together in Vegas takes place at Caesars Palace's Colosseum. With the high demand for their summer shows, the trio have added select dates this December.
The additional shows scheduled from Dec. 4 through Dec. 14 will go on sale to the general public beginning Friday, May 17, at noon PT.
McEntire, Brooks & Dunn kicked off the initial dates of their Vegas residency in June of 2015, and the shows proved so successful that they have extended it into each subsequent year.
The upcoming shows will feature a set list filled with over 30 of their hits, with a backing band of ten members from both of their bands. Since their residency debuted 2015, the trio have played 82 shows to over 300,000 fans in Sin City.
After the initial summer run in Vegas, McEntire will perform select headlining shows throughout the United States through September before heading back to Las Vegas for the second part of the residency.
The eight new 2019 dates on sale now:
Dec. 4: Las Vegas @ Colosseum at Caesars Palace
Dec. 6: Las Vegas @ Colosseum at Caesars Palace
Dec. 7: Las Vegas @ Colosseum at Caesars Palace
Dec. 8: Las Vegas @ Colosseum at Caesars Palace
Dec. 10: Las Vegas @ Colosseum at Caesars Palace
Dec. 11: Las Vegas @ Colosseum at Caesars Palace
Dec. 13: Las Vegas @ Colosseum at Caesars Palace
Dec. 14: Las Vegas @ Colosseum at Caesars Palace
Previously announced summer dates on sale now are:
June 26: Las Vegas @ Colosseum at Caesars Palace
June 28: Las Vegas @ Colosseum at Caesars Palace
June 29: Las Vegas @ Colosseum at Caesars Palace
July 3: Las Vegas @ Colosseum at Caesars Palace
July 5: Las Vegas @ Colosseum at Caesars Palace
July 6: Las Vegas @ Colosseum at Caesars Palace
More on Reba:
On March 28, 1955, Reba Nell McEntire was born in McAlester, Okla., to Clark Vincent and Jacqueline Smith McEntire. The third of four children, she was raised on her family’s 8,000-acre family ranch in Chockie, Okla., and travelled frequently to watch her father compete at rodeos. Her father was the World Champion Steer Roper in 1957, 1958, and 1961, an honor her grandfather John McEntire also won in 1934. She would later follow in the family tradition by participating in barrel racing competitions from the time she was 11-years old until she was 21. Her mother, a former schoolteacher and secretary to the superintendent of Kiowa High School, had once harbored dreams of being a Country Music singer. Instead, she had four children and taught them how to sing and harmonize on the long car trips.
While in high school, Reba joined her older brother Pake (who later had his own Country Music career) and younger sister Susie (who would grow up to become a Gospel singer) as members of the Kiowa High School Cowboy Band, and recorded a single, “The Ballad of John McEntire,” for Boss Records in 1971. Her older sister Alice, runner up to the IFR Barrel Racing Championship that same year, never sought a musical career, but was always a strong supporter of her family. Soon after, the three musical siblings formed their own group, The Singing McEntires, and performed frequently at rodeos, clubs, and dance halls. After high school ended, Reba went to college at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, later graduating in 1976 with a major in elementary education and a minor in music.
Reba sang the National Anthem at the National Rodeo Finals in Oklahoma City on Dec. 10, 1974. Her performance so impressed Red Steagall, who was also performing at the event, that he invited her to Nashville to record demos for his music publishing company. After recording Reba during her spring break in March 1975, Steagall shopped her tapes around Nashville and secured her deal with Polygram Mercury Records in November.
Although her first recordings were not that successful, Reba worked steadily to build her career. The first single, “I Don’t Want to Be a One Night Stand,” peaked at No. 88 in 1976, followed in 1977 by “(There’s Nothing Like the Love) Between a Woman and a Man” at No. 86, and “Glad I Waited Just For You,” at No. 88, and her self-titled debut album, which did not chart at all. Despite the lack of initial chart success, she was invited to debut on the Grand Ole Opry on Sept. 17, 1977, which happened to be 30 years to the day when her father won the All Around at the Pendleton, Org. rodeo. Although her next two albums still would not chart, Reba began building momentum when she cracked the Top 20 with songs such as “Three Sheets in the Wind” (with Jacky Ward) and her cover of Patsy Cline’s “Sweet Dreams.” She achieved her first Top 10 hit when “(You Lift Me) Up to Heaven” reached No. 8 in 1980, and she followed it with the Top 5 “Today All Over Again.” Showing career growth, her fourth album, Heart to Heart, became her first charting album, peaking at No. 42 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart. Her fifth album, Unlimited, eventually rose to No. 22 on the charts and featured her No. 3 hit “I’m Not That Lonely Yet,” as well as her first two No. 1 hits: “Can’t Even Get the Blues” and “You’re The First Time I’ve Thought About Leaving.”
Reba moved to MCA Records in 1983, and released the album Just A Little Love one year later, featuring the Top Five title cut. She wanted more control over her song selection and album production, and was thrilled when label president Jimmy Bowen allowed her to make the album she wanted to make (she and Bowen would later co-produce several successful albums together). She released My Kind of Country in 1984 and hit No. 1 with its first single, “How Blue.” The album, which featured both new material and covers of songs originally recorded by Ray Price, Carl Smith, Connie Smith, and Faron Young, helped propel Reba to the forefront of the “New Traditionalists” alongside artists such as Ricky Skaggs, George Strait, and Randy Travis. The album also featured her No. 1 hit “Somebody Should Leave.” Her success was rewarded in 1984, when she won the CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Award for the first time. She would go on to win this Award for four consecutive years (1984-1987), and currently is tied with Martina McBride for the most wins in this category. The year 1986 brought further honors, as she joined the Grand Ole Opry in January, and was named CMA Entertainer of the Year in October, an Award that recognized her remarkable showmanship in concert.
By this time, Reba was a bonafide Country Music superstar. Her 1986 album Whoever’s in New England was her first to be certified Gold by the RIAA, and both the title cut and “Little Rock” became No. 1 hits. One year later, her Greatest Hits album became her first Platinum-certified album (continuing to sell more than four million copies through the years). She continued to rule the charts with hit songs including “The Last One to Know” and “Love Will Find Its Way to You.” But her album Reba, which contained the hits “Sunday Kind of Love,” “I Know How He Feels,” and “New Fool at an Old Game,” signaled a change towards a more pop-oriented style. Reba continued in this direction, scoring hits with songs such as “Cathy’s Clown” and “Walk On.”
Proving her business acumen, Reba and her former husband/manager Narvel Blackstock created Starstruck Entertainment in 1988 to handle her management, booking, publicity, publishing, and more. The company went on to work with other artists as well, including Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton. In 1990, she gave birth to a son Shelby Steven McEntire Blackstock. She would later share stories from her life in her 1994 autobiography Reba: My Story and her 1999 book Comfort from a Country Quilt. Years later, she would expand her brand and oversee the creation and development of successful clothing, footwear, luggage, and home collection lines that are sold nationwide in Dillard’s.
After getting a taste of acting from her music videos, Reba began exploring her options in Hollywood. She first appeared alongside Kevin Bacon and Michael Gross in the comic, horror film “Tremors,” in 1990. Over the years, she would continue with roles in movies such as “North” (1994), “The Little Rascals” (1994), and “One Night at McCool’s” (2001). She also appeared in a string of television movies, including: “The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw” with Kenny Rogers in 1991; “The Man From Left Field” with Burt Reynolds in 1993; “Is There Life Out There?” in 1994 (based on her hit song and music video); “Buffalo Girls” in 1995 (where she first played Annie Oakley); “Forever Love” in 1998 (also based on her hit song); and “Secret of Giving” in 1999. Her distinctive voice was heard as the goddess Artemis in the animated television series “Hercules” (1998); Betsy the Cow in the movie “Charlotte’s Web” (2006); and Dixie the dog in animated movie “The Fox and the Hound 2” (2006).
But she was never far away from the music, continuing to chart huge hits with “You Lie,” “Rumor Has It,” “Fancy,” “Is There Life Out There,” “The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia,” “Take It Back,” “The Heart Won’t Lie” (a duet with Vince Gill), “Does He Love You” (a duet with Linda Davis, which won the 1994 CMA Vocal Event of the Year Award as well a Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals), “Why Haven’t I Heard From You,” “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” “She Thinks His Name Was John,” “On My Own” (with Davis, Martina McBride, and Trisha Yearwood), “The Fear of Being Alone,” “I’d Rather Ride Around With You,” “How Was I to Know,” “Forever Love,” “If You See Him/If You See Her” (with Brooks and Dunn), and more. She also reached No. 2 on the Billboard Dance Singles chart with her remake of The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.”
In 2001, Reba triumphed when she took over the role of Annie Oakley in the Broadway play “Annie Get Your Gun,” previously played in this revival by Bernadette Peters, Susan Lucci, and Cheryl Ladd. Reba brought new life to the production, and with it came rave reviews, sold out performances, a Drama Desk Award, and an Outer Critics Circle Award.
After performing on Broadway from February through June, Reba moved to Los Angeles to begin her successful television sitcom “Reba” for the WB Network (later renamed the CW Network). The show debuted in October and remained in production for six seasons, signing off in February 2007. The series grew even stronger and gained a larger audience through syndication re-runs on the Lifetime Network, and will continue to play for a second round of syndication on ABC Family and CMT through 2014.
While starring in and producing the television series, Reba continued to succeed in music with hit songs such as “I’m a Survivor” (the sitcom’s theme song), “I’m Gonna Take That Mountain,” “He Gets That From Me,” “My Sister,” and the No. 1 hit “Somebody.” In 2005, she participated in a special concert performance of “South Pacific” with Alec Baldwin and Brian Stokes Mitchell at Carnegie Hall that was filmed to air on “Great Performances” on PBS the following year.
In 2007, she released Reba Duets, an album that paired her with artists including Kenny Chesney (on “Every Other Weekend”), and Kelly Clarkson (on “Because of You”), as well as Ronnie Dunn, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Don Henley, Carole King, Rascal Flatts, LeAnn Rimes, Justin Timberlake, and Trisha Yearwood. This became her first album to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart.
After releasing a three-disc 50 Greatest Hits album in 2008, Reba left her longtime home at MCA and moved to the Valory Music Label, reuniting her with label president Scott Borchetta. Her first album for her new label, Keep on Loving You, became her second album to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart when it was released in 2009. The album’s first single “Strange” debuted at No. 39 on the Billboard Country Singles chart, the highest single chart debut and the fastest rising single of her career. In addition to the title cut, the album also featured “Consider Me Gone,” which topped the Billboard Country Singles chart for four consecutive weeks and became her longest-running No. 1 song ever. Her current album, All the Women I Am, hit stores in 2010, and features the hit singles “Turn on the Radio,” which became the first No. 1 hit from the new CD, and Reba’s remake of Beyonce’s “If I Were a Boy,” which she performed on “The 44th Annual CMA Awards” that year.
During her 2011 ALL THE WOMEN I AM TOUR, both Pollstar and Billboard’s Boxscore (the touring industry’s leading trade outlets) named Reba the #1 female Country touring artist, selling a combined total of over 9 million tickets in her career.
Reba’s life and career were featured in the REBA: ALL THE WOMEN I AM Exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, TN. The exhibit contained more than two dozen costumes, personal possessions, vintage photographs and career-spanning audio and video. The exhibit ran from August 9, 2013 - June 22, 2014.
In 2017, Reba released her first ever gospel album, SING IT NOW: SONGS OF FAITH & HOPE. The two disc twenty song collection featured classic hymns as well as new inspirational anthems. It debuted at #1 on both the Billboard Country & Christian charts and earned her a Dove and GRAMMY® award.
McEntire released her twenty-ninth studio album Stronger Than the Truth on April 5, 2019.
One of the most successful female recording artists in history, Reba has sold over 56 million albums worldwide and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. She has won 15 American Music Awards; 13 ACM Awards;9 People’s Choice Awards; 7 CMA Awards; 2 GRAMMY Awards; an ACM Career Achievement Honor; and is one of only four entertainers in history to receive the National Artistic Achievement Award from the U.S. Congress.
Reba’s reign of #1 hits spans four decades and Billboard, Country Aircheck and Mediabase recognized her as the biggest female hitmaker in Country music history.
Thanks For The Music Reba!
For more information about Reba and tour dates: https://www.reba.com
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