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Stars Shine on Reba's Duet Album

Douglas Boultinghouse
Staff Writer 

   Country superstar Reba McEntire will release a new, interesting album on MCA Nashville records that fans pegged her most successful record to date.  The album features a collection of McEntire’s close friends she met over her years in the business. 

   "I've always thought a duets album would be a great thing to get to do, and the timing was finally right to make it happen,” McEntire said on her official Web site.  For that project, McEntire called in the ‘greats’ to accompany her on a collective album of genres. 

   Guest artists include: Carole King, Rascal Flatts, Kelly Clarkson, Faith Hill, Trisha Yearwood, Kenny Chesney, Justin Timberlake, Ronnie Dunn, Don Henley, LeAnn Rimes and Vince Gill.

   No denying, each artist brings their own style to the record.  

   The album opens with LeAnn Rimes and the track “When You Love Someone Like That." 

   “I saw it coming / Yeah, I knew it from the start / When you love / When you love someone like that / When you give what you can't take back,” the pair sings.  

   The song is about loving a person so much that you do not acknowledge the pain you cause yourself.  The harmonies and high notes on this track are breathtaking as the friends twine together perfectly.  

   “I met a boy a few weeks back … / He’s a whole like you daddy…/ I met a girl, you’re gonna like her Mama…” intertwine McEntire and Brooks & Dunn front man Ronnie Dunn.  

   Like most Reba tracks, the song tells a story - one side is from the woman’s perspective and the other is from the man’s.  Combined in the end, a romantic love story of two lovers is told in “Does the Wind Still Blow in Oklahoma?”   

   The emotional first single, tearing up the country music charts, follows the MacEntire-Dunn duet.   

   “You never thought of anyone else / You just saw your pain / And now I cry in the middle of the night / For the same damn thing / Because of you … I am afraid,” McEntire sings with the backing of her good friend Kelly Clarkson. 

   “Because of You," the autobiographical track written by Clarkson at age 16, is a re-recording of the song featured on Clarkson’s five-time platinum, Grammy award-winning album “Breakaway.” The new duet version of the song gives McEntire her fastest climbing single since the release of “Forever Love” in 1998. 

   “Because of You," however, was not the original track on the album to feature Clarkson.  The friends recorded a song called “A Lot Like You."  McEntire and Clarkson performed the song at the taping of "Country Music Television: Crossroads," where the two singers performed a variety of their hits together before an audience at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn.    

   When they performed Clarkson’s hit “Because of You," McEntire was overcome by the powerful emotion created while singing the song.  She knew that instant it was the right track for the “Duets” project.  

   “A Lot Like You” was cut from the show when it aired on television, but fans at the live taping were able to record audio of the song. The Clarkson duet earned MacEntire nomination for two Country Music Association Awards, Female Artist of the Year and Musical Event of the Year.

   Trisha Yearwood joins McEntire on the track after the Rascal Flatts duet "Faith in Love." 

   “She can remember the man that he was / And still shed a tear for what he's become,” Yearwood sings in a song about two friends overlooking the failing relationship of another friend.  “She Can’t Save Him” tells the story of trying to fix something you have no control over.  The two women sound incredible together.  

   “Everyday People” is next.  McEntire sings with Carole King about miracles.  The song pays a tribute to the people in the world who go out and work to make things right but go unnoticed.

   “Everyday people / Lifting up the world like an answered prayer / Thank God they’re there / They’re the ones who care,” McEntire and King crooned.  

   The standout track, “Every Other Weekend,” tells the heart-breaking story of a divorced couple who share custody of their children "every other weekend."  You hear the wife’s side as well as the husband’s. As McEntire and Kenny Chesney sing verses about trading the kids, the chorus comes in and catches you.    

   “I can’t tell her I love her … I can’t tell him I love him / 'Cause there’s too many questions and years in the car / So I don’t tell him I miss him … I don’t tell her I need her / She’s over me, that’s where we are / So we’re as close as we might ever be again / Every other weekend,” the country hit-maker sings. 

   There is no way to listen to this track without being pulled in and becoming a part of the story.  It is, hands down, a masterpiece.  

   Vince Gill teams up with McEntire for the third duet of their careers.  “These Broken Hearts" portrays two people in love who simply cannot work things out.  They come to the realization as they sing, “I wish you well my friend / Only time will mend these broken hearts again.” 

   Though not as powerful as “The Heart Won’t Lie," the No. 1 song recorded by the pair in 1993, “These Broken Hearts” should not go unheard.  

   With all the drama surrounding the war, the song “Sleeping with the Telephone” becomes an eye opener and even comfort for couples who are separated by the duties required by serving their country. 

   “So here I am / While he’s gone / To some foreign land / And I cry / 'Cause I’m all alone,” McEntire sings with the help of Faith Hill on one of the most powerful stories told by McEntire since her controversial “She Thinks His Name Was John,” which was about a woman living with Aids in 1994.  

   The song takes you through all of the aspects of the situation including watching the news, yellow ribbons as reminders and ‘sleeping with the telephone’ waiting for the phone to ring, but hoping the call is not one of bad news.    

   The most talked about track would have to be “The Only Promise That Remains."  The cut features pop icon, Justin Timberlake.  Joanna Garcia, McEntire’s television daughter, introduced the two through her boyfriend Trace Ayala, Timberlake's business partner and best friend.

   “One day we were in the makeup room there on the set, and Joanna said, ‘You know who you ought to do a duet with? Justin.' I said, 'Do you think he would?' And she said, 'I know he would! He loves you!' … I told Justin I was very nervous about hearing the song,” she said. “I didn't know if it was going to be ‘Sexy Back II' or what!” she said according to her Web site

   Timberlake did just what he said he would.  He sang harmony.  His breathy voice can be heard faintly in the back.  You hear him chiming in with McEntire with such strength in his voice that it makes you wonder why he hasn’t made a shift the country music industry before. 

   “After all the sky has fallen down / After all the water’s washed away / My love's the promise that remains,” McEntire and Timberlake sing.  If the lyrics and harmony are not enough to get your attention, let the violins and acoustic guitars capture you.  They are phenomenal. 

   The last song on the album features an unknown artist to me.  Until this time, I had no idea who Don Henley was.  I now know I have been missing out. The sad song “Break Each Others Hearts Again” tells about two lovers who keep going back again and again despite the pain they cause each other. 

   “These arms wanna hold you / These lips wanna kiss you / These eyes are glad to see you / Baby, I miss you … / Why don't we get together / And break each other’s hearts again,” Henley sings in a raspy tone with McEntire’s soft vocals accompanying him.   

   “Duets” marks McEntire’s 25th Studio Album.  McEntire began her career in 1975, and 32 years later, she’s still got it.  After taking the country charts by storm, capturing hearts in New York on Broadway, and making the world laugh on television with her sitcom "Reba," McEntire returned to country music for an album that is sure to be a hit. 

   “The amount of excitement and exposure around the release of Duets is unprecedented for me," McEntire said in a Nashville press release. "I'm tickled to pieces!”  She added, “There's a lot of love in this record, because I love these people that I get to sing with. And I think people are going to love it, too. I honestly do.”  

   McEntire’s anticipated album “Duets” hit stores Sept. 18.  If you are interested in an album that will take you from different genres and different styles of country music all while telling realistic stories, this album is for you. 


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ŠThe Voice 2007
Revised 09/17/2007 07:44:08 PM —