...She finally proves that she is far more than just a pretty voice.
Serena Kutchinsky 2007
Martina McBride has won numerous awards, topped the Billboard charts and sold over 16 million records. For over a decade she has reigned as the undisputed queen of country music, her striking looks and powerhouse voice drawing comparisons with the likes of Patsy Cline. But her latest album is a landmark in her glittering career. A follow-up to 2005's platinum-selling Timeless – Waking Up Laughing is not only her ninth studio album but the first she has co-written and solo-produced.
Whereas before Martina was content to focus on her voice and belt out other people's lyrics, her love of music has driven her to tinker with the formula of her success. Taking guidance from a coterie of talented co-writers, she has produced some of her finest musical moments. Her vocals, always phenomenal, are polished to perfection on this album and it marks an evolution for the artist who, along with Shania Twain, is responsible for sexing-up contemporary country music.
Taking a gamble has paid off for the girl who started out flogging T-shirts at a Garth Brooks gig and is now branded the country scene's answer to Celine Dion. The debut single from the album, the power-ballad "Anyway", has already predictably stormed up the Billboard charts.
A Nashville native, the musical heritage of her hometown is particularly visible on tracks like the poignant "Tryin' To Find A Reason" which features the vocal skills of country hearththrob, Keith Urban. Other notable guest appearances include respected collective, The Nashville String Machine on the Beatlesy track, "How I Feel". And acclaimed songwriter Leslie Satcher adds an air of social consciousness on the stirring "For These Times".
So far, with Martina it's been all about her vocal talent. She's entranced legions of fans worldwide with her raw power, but on this album she finally proves that she is far more than just a pretty voice.