If all goes according to plan, Atlantic City audiences will become the first to get a live listen of “Reckless,” the debut single from country star Martina McBride’s yet-to-be-named next album.
McBride, who is currently in the studio working on the record, hopes to perform the track 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, at The Arena at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort.
Her A.C. appearance is one of only a handful of shows McBride has scheduled over the next few months, as she tries to completes the album by spring.
The new project may please long-term fans in that, at this point in the creative process, it reminds McBride of her platinum-selling albums from the ’90s “Evolution” and “Emotion.”
“I’ve been able to find really great songs,” she says.
The new record stands in contrast to her last album of original material “Eleven,” for which McBride co-wrote most of the tracks; this time, she is relying on Nashville’s ranks of accomplished songwriters.
“I haven’t had the need to write — I haven’t written anything that’s as good as what I’ve found from these amazing Nashville songwriters,” McBride says. “Nashville is a really special place — it’s a community of songwriters and producers and musicians.”
The last few years have marked some major changes in McBride’s career.
Since making her debut in 1992 on RCA Nashville, she spent most of her career signed with that label. After a brief stint with Republic Nashville, she went the independent route for her last release “Everlasting,” a covers album that came out in 2014. For the new record, McBride has signed with Nash Icon, a boutique label that counts among its roster Reba McEntire and Ronnie Dunn.
With “Everlasting,” McBride became the first solo female artist to debut in the top spot on the Country Albums chart with an indie release. The record featured her versions of such classics as The Supremes’ “Come See About Me,” Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds” and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes’ “If You Don’t Know Me By Now.”
“We had the blueprint for the covers — the challenge there was to stay true to the original, but make it your own, which I think we did,” McBride says.
McBride has received four Female Vocalist of the Year trophies from the Country Music Association, among a long list of industry honors. Known for her powerful vocal style and ability to put her stamp on material penned by others, she has charted 20 Top 10 singles and a half-dozen No. 1 hits. Among her hits are “Wild Angels,” “A Broken Wing,” “Wrong Again,” “Blessed” and “In My Daughter’s Eyes.”
“Being able to create music from an original place is a different process,” she says, in comparison to recording covers. “They’re both fun, but in a way this feels more personal.”
The music business is also the family business for the singer and her sound-engineer husband John McBride. The two are partners in Nashville’s Blackbird Studio, a well-respected facility that’s frequently used by top country acts, including Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Rascal Flatts, along with major names in rock and pop, such as Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Justin Bieber and Bon Jovi.
Their oldest daughter Delaney also has followed them into the industry, studying the music business at Nashville’s Belmont University and now working for a production company.
While their daughter may not make an entire career out of the music business, she has a clear-eyed perspective on it, thanks to her parents.
“The music business obviously can be a very good life, being surrounded by creative people and getting to travel,” McBride says. “It’s something I would not discourage. (My children) know the real side to it, too — it’s hard work and not all glamour
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16
WHERE: The Arena, Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, 1000 Boardwalk, Atlantic City
HOW MUCH: Tickets, priced at $28, $43 and $68, are available at the Taj box office and Ticketmaster