"She was only ten when her daddy got fired/ he drank away the family home and left them all alone/ and then her mommy was just so tired so she got sent away." - Beautiful Again - Martina McBride-Brad and Brett Warren-Nick Trevisick.

Martina McBride has long been more renowned for pristine vocals than production or songwriting.

But when she cut her 2005 classic covers disc Timeless she also chanced her arm at production.

McBride's album sales have topped 12 million during her 15-year recording career.

Now, on her 10th album Waking Up Laughing (RCA-SONY-BMG) she has also taken the creative plunge with writing - being producer allows that sort of freedom.

Although McBride teamed with Florida born brothers Brad and Brett Warren for three co-writes she emulates Independence Day writer Gretchen Peters by tackling social comment narrative Beautiful Again.

McBride wrote with The Warrens when they opened for her on her Timeless tour.

"They are such talented writers and they write every day," McBride revealed in an interview to promote her new disc.

"They kept asking me to write with them, and I kept putting them off. One evening at supper, they came to me with the idea for this song. They had already written the chorus, and I loved it immediately. They said it wasn't finished, and they wanted me to finish it with them. So I agreed, and we got together in the dressing room the very next day and finished it in about an hour. It came really easily, and I really surprised myself with how much I was able to contribute and how exciting it was. We decided what ideas we wanted to portray build, dream, believe, love, sing and then came up with ways to say it. After that, we wrote two other songs for the album. So I have to credit Brad and Brett for opening that door for me and pushing me through it. And having the friendship we have makes it so much easier and more comfortable for me to explore writing."


"She moved in her with her aunt in Arizona/ everything was fine until she told on Uncle Bill/ when he said he only wanted to hold her/ she had to run away." - Beautiful Again - Martina McBride-Brad and Brett Warren-Nick Trevisick

The character in Beautiful Again suffers a triple whammy - abandonment by drunken father, molestation by her uncle in Arizona when she is farmed out, and then dumped by her lover when she becomes pregnant.

Not exactly the soppy love song format soaked up by radio - even if the heroine finds solace in the maternal bonding of her daughter.

It's the second single, sitting at #19 on Billboard after 14 weeks on charts, and part of the meat on the bone of an 11-song album that grows on repeated listening.

"But when it rains, the past gets washed away, and then/ she smiles again cause she knows in the end the world get beautiful again."

McBride injected Anyway - the first hit from her new album that peaked at #2 on the album charts - with a gospel feel.

"Anyway was inspired by many things, among them a poem by Mother Teresa," the singer revealed in a recent interview.

"It was also inspired by real life and the fact that we all face adversity in one way or another. It's a song about hope, love, perseverance and, mostly, faith. Faith that it's not always in your hands or things don't always go the way you planned, but you have to have faith that there is a plan for you, and you must follow your heart and believe in yourself no matter what. The part about believing tomorrow will be better than today was especially meaningful to me to write because I have a tendency to hear the news or read some kind of article, whether it is about terrorism or global warming and I get really scared and nervous about our future. So that line is especially helpful and meaningful to me. It helps me remember that we're all part of a bigger plan and that we must have faith in the future and it isn't all gloom and doom!"


"Confetti falls from the sky/ my hometown on the 4th of July 4/ a midnight snow on Christmas Eve/ like standing up for what you believe." - How I Feel - Martina McBride-Chris Lindsey-Aimee Mayo-Brett and Brad Warren.

McBride, 41, and born in tiny town of Sharon, Kansas, underpins her original songs Anyway and How I Feel with optimism.

And, maybe not so ironically she borrows a July 4 metaphor from Peters huge hit Independence Day, for the latter.

McBride kicks off her disc with strident unbalanced love of If I Had Your Name that segues into the triumphant retreat from the ruptured romance of Cry, Cry (Til The Sun Shines) - both co-written by Hilary Lindsey - and exorcism of another faded love in Tryin' To Find A Reason.

Yes, it's expatriate Australasian superstar Keith Urban playing guitar - his first post rehab session - on the latter tune.

The singer also impacts on dynamic delivery of Leslie Satcher tune For These Times where daily tragedies adorn newspaper front pages akin to the TV sound bite of a fast breaking heart.

It's a bleak battle for the balance of power - and mercy is in the soul of the individual who rises above it all.

"For these times in which we live/ seems like the only answer is/ giving up on finding one at all/ and we hide behind unsure/ pull the blinds and lock the doors/ and hang a pleasant picture on the wall/ blessed is believer who knows love is our redeemer."

It's powerful stuff - and a soulful sibling for McBride's triumphant Anyway.

McBride exudes nostalgia laced positive passion in Tommy Hyler-Rachel Thibodeau tune I'll Still Be Me, redemption in the heartbreak of Everybody Does and true love reigning over poverty in House Of A Thousand Dreams.


"Wasn't wearing a wedding ring in a Vegas wedding chapel/ they were herding us in and out of there like we were cattle/ not exactly the fairy tale that I had planned/ but mama said aren't you supposed to get married girl/ before you bring a baby in this world." - Love Land - Tom Douglas-Rachel Thibodeau.

McBride employs superb sequencing - not just in the songs but also in the sting in the tail of the tale that ends this disc.

The Oklahoma couple, bound in holy matrimony - not just by love but a pending baby - choose a Vegas chapel for their shotgun wedding.

They then appease relatives by driving home to Oklahoma for the reception before the double punch line.

"Amazing all the progress we've made since the days of Thomas Edison/ still only God gives life in spite of modern medicine/ doctor's voices whispered we did all that we could do/ but your baby wasn't strong enough/ to make it the whole nine months."

But there is life at the end of the tunnel and final verse.

"For the longest time I blamed myself/ thought I was paying for my mistakes/ but we tried again, now we're watching him blow three candles out/ he's daddy's little man and only God could have planned/ the steps I've taken that led me to where I'm am/ love land."

This is the type of song that makes mainstream country reek of the past but still be palatable to the present and future when delivered by a voice as powerful as that of the singer who once performed an almost secret Melbourne gig on her distant past Australian promo tour.

She and husband John married in 1988 and moved to Nashville in January 1990.

He mixes the sound at her concerts and their three daughters are usually with them on tour.

And McBride says a tender "bye bye" to Eva - the youngest of her three daughters - at the end of this album, joining her siblings who had minor spots in previous albums.

"It was her turn," McBride said.

top / back to diary