The following is written by the fabulous Sue Guynn and it appeared in this week’s edition of 72 Hours. Enjoy!
Country singer Martina McBride is known for her contemporary country sound and hard-hitting songs including “Independence Day,” “A Broken Wing” and “Concrete Angel,” and songs for “the girls,” like “In My Daughter’s Eyes,” “My Baby Loves Me” and “This One’s For the Girls.”
But this fall, McBride is sharing the joy of the coming Christmas season with the “Joy of Christmas Tour.” Bursting with music of the season, the tour will stop for two shows at the Event Center at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, Hollywood Drive in Charles Town, West Virginia, at 9 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday. You must be 21 or older to attend. Tickets are $75 and $95 each for either show.
This is the fourth year for the Christmas tour and the first after taking a break from the tour for a few years.
“It’s my favorite thing to do,” said McBride in a recent phone interview. And it takes a lot of coordination to schedule rehearsals, song selection and the sets, but, she said, “This year felt like the right time to do it. There’s a lot of rehearsals, we have a whole band with four string players and four singers.” Oh, and McBride will have six costume changes.
“This show is all Christmas,” she said, with performances of songs from her “White Christmas” album, pop holiday songs and hymns — “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Silent Night,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Let It Snow” … they’re all part of her show.
Visually, it’s a Christmas treat, too, with decorated trees and scenic video backdrops. “It’s a beautiful show to watch,” she said.
McBride released the “White Christmas” album in 1999, her fifth studio album. The track list includes “Do You Hear What I Hear,” “The Christmas Song,” “Silver Bells” and “O Holy Night.”
She’s working on a new album of Christmas songs. “It comes out next year,” she said. It’s more of a classic Christmas, with a 32-piece band and orchestra. “No hymns,” she said, “more of an Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra style.”
McBride is also working on a second book. Her first book, “Around the Table,” released in 2014. It came from her passion for cooking and entertaining.
“I wanted [‘Around the Table’] to take some of the intimidation out of [entertaining],” she said. “It has suggestions for organizing and ideas for decorating and some great, simple recipes.” Photographs for the book were shot at her home.
She is working on the second book, this one with simple recipes, like chicken and sausage gumbo — a Christmas Eve favorite at the McBride house. The cookbook is due out in 2018, too, she said.
The “Joy of Christmas Tour” wraps up Dec. 22, and then it’s home for the holidays with family. Her three daughters are now 22, 19 and 12, and not one of them is interested in following in their parents’ footsteps in the music business. McBride’s husband, John, owns Blackbird Studios. “Nope, no interest,” she said. “I want them to find their own dreams and their own passions.”
The Event Center “Joy of Christmas” show, she said, will put you in the holiday spirit.
“It’s definitely a fun show.”