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McBride takes reins on album, tour

| Thursday, May 10, 2007

With a new album, tour and songwriting venture, contemporary country music star Martina McBride is "Waking Up Laughing" much of the time.

For "Waking Up Laughing" -- McBride's ninth studio album, released April 3 -- she co-wrote three of the songs, which was a first for her. McBride helped to write the moving "Anyway," the album's first single, along with "Beautiful Again" and "How I Feel." Her tour-mates, The Warren Brothers, encouraged McBride to songwriting, although she initially insisted she was no writer -- at least, not a commercially capable one.

"I messed with it a little bit in the past, but this is the first time I've ever written anything seriously that's good enough to end up on an album," McBride says. She will be performing Friday at the Petersen Events Center in Oakland.

The soprano says she chooses her songs based on her experiences and feelings about life, along with the causes she champions, such as women's empowerment and value. So when The Warren Brothers "kind of insisted that I write with them ... it just made sense," McBride says.

"It was fun to be able to be there on the front end, and be able to tailor-make the songs to fit me," she says. "That was really a great experience."

McBride also worked as the solo producer of "Waking Up Laughing," although she still sought input from Paul Worley, who usually is her co-producer. Putting the project together herself let McBride make all the decisions, choose all the musicians and work at her own pace. She finished recording the album in eight months, which McBride says was a luxury.

"Waking Up Laughing" follows 2005's platinum-selling "Timeless," in which McBride reconnected with her country roots and put her stamp on some old-time classics, such as "Today I Started Loving You Again" and "You Ain't Woman Enough." Making "Timeless" gave McBride a much-appreciated vacation from the rigors of regularly recording original albums, and commercialism, she says.

"It was really just taking a break from trying to come up with something new, fresh and different," McBride says.

While McBride enjoys her tour and the success of "Waking Up Laughing," she and her husband, John, are raising their three daughters -- Delaney, 12; Emma, 9; and Ava, 22 months, who has been touring with her mom. McBride's influence has spread into many areas of pop culture, including "American Idol," where she has served as a mentor to contestants. Mattel even modeled a Barbie doll after McBride in 2005.

Additional Information:

Martina McBride

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Admission: $42.75-$57.75

Where: Petersen Events Center, 3719 Terrace St., Oakland

Details: 412-323-1919

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