2018 CD FEATURE
CRY PRETTY (CAPITOL)
CARRIE UNDERWOOD CRIES PRETTY LONG AFTER 20TH DENI UTE MUSTER
“You can pretty lie and say it's okay/ you can pretty smile and just walk away/ pretty much fake your way through anything/ but you can't cry pretty/ you can't turn off the flood when the dam breaks/ when all your mascara is going to waste/ when things get ugly, you just gotta face/ that you can't cry pretty.” - Cry Pretty - - Carrie Underwood-Lori McKenna-Liz Rose-Hillary Lindsey.
When seven time Grammy winner Carrie Underwood headlined the 20th Deni Ute Muster in September with Kasey Chambers they didn't duet on Chambers hit Not Pretty Enough.
Instead Oklahoma born Carrie performed her sixth album title track Cry Pretty that topped U.S. charts after it debuted on September 14.
The singer, who announced her pregnancy on the eve of the Ute Muster , also won major awards for her duet The Fighter with expatriate Australasian superstar and previous tour partner Keith Urban who returns here in February.
Carrie and Keith toured here together in 2015 and she returned to Rod Laver Arena for live cameos on the Nine Network AFL Footy Show.
Underwood, 35, didn't have to dig deep to fuel her Cry Pretty hit that she wrote with Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna and Liz Rose (aka The Love Junkies ).
She broke her wrist and had about 50 stitches inserted in facial wounds after a fall at her Nashville home in November, 2017, shortly after her 10th hosting of the CMA Awards with West Virginian Brad Paisley.
Carrie's retired Nashville Predators ice hockey star husband Mike Fisher rushed home to stand by his woman and three year old son Isaiah after the accident.
Pride came after the fall for the 2005 American Idol winner who threw herself back into song-writing and producing her album with fellow writer/producer David Garcia.
"It's crazy how a freak random accident can change your life," revealed Underwood who also suffered three miscarriages before her belated pregnancy.
"Even though I've had the best people helping me I'm still healing and not quite looking the same. I honestly don't know how things are going to end up but I do know this. I am grateful that it wasn't much, much worse.
"The album title Cry Pretty refers to when emotions take over and you just can't hold them back.
“It really speaks to a lot of things that have happened in the past year, and I hope when you hear it, you can relate those feelings to those times in your life. It's emotional. It's real. And it rocks.
“You know, I don't think I kill anybody off on this album. I know! It's so unlike me. Everybody lives at the end. I think it's a different kind of drama, it's a little more real-life and I feel like just me and where I am in my life. Having a kid and kind of just going through this crazy life that we go through. I've grown up a lot and I feel like the drama is more real-life.”
“I think you can hear that in this new album. It's emotional, it's soulful, it's real, and we also have some fun on there too. I hope everyone loves it as much as I have loved making it.
"We hit it off in a big way. I've always been lucky to have a voice in the writing and recording process, but this is the first time I am this involved in the production of my music. It's been challenging and incredibly rewarding to be involved in every aspect from start to finish. David has been an amazing teacher and partner, and I'm so proud of what we have created.”
LOVE WINS FOR CARRIE
“A stray bullet and a momma cries/ her baby won't be coming home tonight/ sirens screaming down the avenue/ just another story on the evening news, oh, whoa politics and prejudice/ how the hell it'd ever come to this?/ when everybody's gotta pick a side/ it don't matter if you're wrong or right, no/ and so it goes, but I hold onto hope and I won't let go 'cause/ I believe you and me are sisters and brothers/ I believe we're made to be here for each other/ and we'll never fall if we walk hand in hand/ put a world that seems broken together again/ Yeah I believe in the end love wins.” - Love Wins - Carrie Underwood-David Garcia-Brett James.
Carrie donned Native American-inspired garb for the video that expands on the song's message of building understanding and everyone moving forward together.
The Shane Drake directed video begins with a shot of a hopeless-looking group of people plodding along a lonely stretch of dirt road on foot with dark visual tones representing their grim fortunes.
But they brighten as they cross a bridge and enter a large clearing as Underwood delivers the inspirational chorus.
The video then shifts perspectives entirely, adding bright colours in the form of Underwood's painted face, as well as coloured powder the assembled crowd throw into the air as they gather together.
Underwood joins the festivities, dancing and beaming as they all celebrate in a spirit of unity.
THE BULLET HITS WIDER TARGETS
“Line of limousines leaving one by one/ the prayers been prayed the hands been sung/ black mascara has already run/ but the tears keep flowing/ you can blame it on hate or blame it on guns/ but mamas ain't supposed to bury their sons/ left a hole in her heart and it still ain't done/ the bullet keeps on going/ through every branch of his family tree/ every birthday that he'll never see/ every chance to live a good life that was stolen/ through the son he'll never get to raise/ his daughter on her wedding day/ wishing it was his hands she was holding/ 'Till every heart that's left to break is broken/ the bullet keeps on going.” - The Bullet - Marc Beeson-Andy Albert-Allen Shamblin.
Equally powerful is Marc Beeson, Andy Albert and Allen Shamblin penned song The Bullet.
Underwood confessed inclusion on her album was partially motivated by the October 1, 2017, shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas , Nevada.
"It's a beautiful and powerful song, and I thought for a long time whether or not I was the one to deliver its message," Carrie revealed of the heart-wrenching ballad about the tragedy of outliving children and good lives taken unnecessarily by gun violence.
"Unfortunately, too many events have happened and not just on a grand scale, any word I say right now is gonna be wrong.
“But too many people are going to relate to it whether in the military, if they're cops, or just people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's a song that needed to be sung."
The Bullet describes a gun death and how a bullet keeps moving symbolically long after it has hit the target, ripping holes in the hearts of everyone the deceased knew and loved.
Beeson, Albert and Shamblin didn't specifically reference any particular shooting in American or world history in the song.
But the Route 91 shooting was painful for country music fans as Georgian star Jason Aldean was onstage when gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire, killing 58 country fans and injuring hundreds more.
THE CHAMPION MESSAGE
“I'll be the last one standing/ two hands in the air, I'm a champion/ you'll be looking up at me when it's over /I live for the battle, I'm a soldier, yeah/ I'm a fighter like Rocky/ put you flat on your back like Ali/ yeah, I'm the greatest, I'm stronger/ paid my dues, can't lose/ I've been working my whole life/ and now it's do or die /I am invincible, unbreakable/ Unstoppable, unshakeable/ they knock me down, I get up again/ I am the champion.” - The Champion - Carrie Underwood-Brett James-Chris DeStefano-Christopher Bridges.
Carrie won her 14th Academy Of Country Music award in April for best vocal duet with Urban for their hit The Fighter after she spent 2016 touring and a 2017 hiatus before co-hosting the CMA Awards.
Carrie retained her high profile by teaming with rapper star Ludacris on their video for The Champion that exploits sporting and civil rights metaphors to drive equality messages.
It was used in the opening for Super Bowl LII and Winter Olympics in February.
Underwood wrote the album bonus track in 2017 with Brett James, Chris DeStefano and Ludacris.
"When we were writing The Champion our main focus was to celebrate athletes at the top of their game, but we also wanted the song to resonate with people in their everyday lives,” Underwood revealed.
“We hope the lyrics will inspire people to push themselves beyond their limits to conquer anything they are trying to accomplish or overcome. There's a champion in every single one of us!”
Underwood proved that in her own life that started on March 10, 1983, in tiny Oklahoma town Muskogee.
She was raised on her parents' farm in rural town Checotah where her father Steve worked in a paper mill while her mother Carole taught elementary school.
Carrie began singing as a child at the First Free Will Baptist Church before auditioning for Capitol Records at 14.
Now, 65 million plus album sales later, the multi-millionaire singer-philanthropist, vegan and committed Christian, has many strings to her bucolic bows.
HANK, HAGGARD, JONES AND SOUTHBOUND
“We got a pontoon boat with a Yamaha/ people dressed like they're in Panama/ small town, spring break/ every weekend around this place/ and there's a bunch of boys trying to catch the eyes/ of all the pretty girls that are walking by/ and those redneck margaritas are 2 for 1 at that old marina/ tan lines and gas station cheap stations, we're coming here for one round.” - Southbound - Carrie Underwood-David Garcia-Josh Miller.
Underwood covers vast territory from the title track entrée into homage to heroes Hank, Haggard and Jones in Ghosts In The Stereo and ruptured romance in Low and Backsliding .
She balanced serious songs with hedonistic joyous tune Southbound, Spinning Bottles and reflective That Song That We Used To Make Love To, End Up With You and Kingdom.
But writing can be a challenge.
“I don't know if there was one specific line that was the hardest to write,” Underwood explained.
“But there was a song called Southbound that was kind of surprisingly hard to write for being just a fun light song. But because it was a fun party song it was interesting just to write it not from some guy singing it. It's a lot easier to write a party song if you're a guy.
“It's a party song about being at the lake, having a great time, and people are drinking redneck margaritas. “We have this one character - her name's Katie - and we were trying to say she's had a little too much to drink, but we wanted to make sure Katie was still just having fun and it was respectable and it wasn't trashy.
“I'm not going to be like, cut-off jeans, you know what I mean? There's certain lyrics that it's like guys can get away with, and it's easier. We had to spend a little more writing this fun song.”
Singing, performing and writing are not her only skills - she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on September 20.
She made her film debut in Soul Surfer in April 2011 as Sarah Hill - the church youth leader who helped Bethany Hamilton overcome obstacles after losing an arm in a shark attack.
Carrie also exploited humour when she appeared in TV show Sesame Street as voice of Carrie Underworm - a worm who sings a song about worm pride before a Sesame Street auto race.
She and husband Mike's charitable ventures include donating their time, talent and funds to various causes including Danita's Children - a group committed to caring for orphans and impoverished children in Haiti.
She has donated $1 from each ticket sale on her 2019 Cry Pretty tour with Maddie & Tae and Runaway June to Danita's Children.
Underwood is no stranger to natural disasters after her home suffered tornadoes in March last year.
“Woke up to tornado sirens and hail,” revealed Underwood who made massive donations to Red Cross in her home state after 2013 tornadoes.