Martina McBride, Reckless

by JW Dunner

martina mcbrideReckless opens with the eponymous title track that’s brand McBride: subject matter of affirmation and grateful recognition of a personal savior who grounded the singer’s reckless ways; a soaring chorus loaded with vibrato-free, break-the-glass held notes; and a tough band with twin-guitar twang. Chalk up another anthem from this country-rock legend. Yet, it’s the songs from the shadows that leave the lasting impressions, when McBride lets the lyrics resonate. “It Ain’t Pretty” is the plight of the middle-aged single in a bar beholden to the next generation. “Low All Afternoon” finds McBride comforting a friend used and dumped by an altar-bound ex. But she always manages to interject a touch of bootstrap rescue, no matter how bad things are. “Diamonds,” though, is the unabashed winner, with enough six-string crunch, layered harmonies, and positivistic punch to take on all the Little Big Towns and Glorianas and then some.

“The Real Thing,” which features some outstanding harmonies from the esteemed and respected Buddy Miller is a highlight – probably McBride’s most “Country” performance since her epic covers album Timeless from 2005. In years’ past, the powerhouse vocalist might have soared into the stratosphere, but she reigns in her power a little here, and the result is pretty staggering.  The album closes out with another shift in direction, with the jazzy “You and You Alone,” which sounds like it would be right at home in the middle of a piano bar, with McBride handling the part of chanteuse quite well.

It’s great to have new music from McBride. Kudos to Scott Borchetta for starting up the Nash Icon imprint. Hopefully, with great albums from Reba, Hank Williams, Jr., and (soon, perhaps!) Ronnie Dunn, the success the label has enjoyed thus far proves there is still a market for some of the format’s all-time greats. It would be great if radio followed suit on this, but her longtime fan faithful will definitely be there to snap this up!

Written by