Four Minutes, Four Questions

Martina McBride

Four Minutes, Four Questions</p><p>Martina McBride

Whether you begin preparations for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving or you still hold out for a week or two, the cheery winter holiday is coming — along with all the festive decor, music and merriment that come with it. Unabashed Christmas lover Martina McBride announced in August the return of her “Joy of Christmas Tour,” which stops in Fort Smith on Nov. 26. This will be the 14-time Grammy nominee’s seventh outing with the tour she describes as a “Christmas winter wonderland.” The country star will also debut another holiday album — her first, “White Christmas,” was released in 1998 — this winter. Fans can anticipate McBride’s take on classic Christmas favorites, as well as some her biggest hits from her career at the family-friendly concert.

McBride took a few minutes to answer these questions for The Free Weekly in advance of her Fort Smith performance.

Q. You’ve done the “Joy of Christmas Tour” quite a few times and are working on your second Christmas album. What is it about the music of this holiday that draws you in? What makes it so special for you as both a listener and a performer?

A. There are so many memories associated with Christmas and, luckily, my holiday memories are good ones. Christmas music has the ability to bring it all back. I think Christmas centers around family holiday traditions, old and new, so there’s a very strong emotional association with Christmas music.

Q. How do you approach songs like classic Christmas tunes that have been recorded a million times? Do you try to bring a unique perspective or feeling to the performance?

A. I really wanted my album, “White Christmas,” to be a classic sounding album. So my approach is very traditional. I don’t think you need to reinvent the wheel. When I listen to Christmas music, I like it to be familiar sounding, so I love the classics from Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis and Elvis, to name a few. And every once in a while, a new Christmas song comes along like Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” that just becomes an instant classic.

Q. What were your Christmases like growing up? Do you have any favorite memories you can share with our readers?

A. We opened presents on Christmas morning. My grandparents lived just a mile down the dirt road where I grew up, so they would come and watch us open presents. Then we usually went to their house for a big family dinner with the cousins. Santa always covered our presents with a bed sheet, and then my dad would do “the big reveal” and we all rushed in. Santa still does that at our house.

Q. What is important to you now versus early in your career, and how has that evolved as you’ve progressed as a musician?

A. I think when it comes to my career I have the same goals now as I did then, in a way. To record songs I love and that will matter and hopefully bring someone joy or comfort and stand the test of time. I just set out to do whatever I do — whether it’s live shows, albums, a cookbook — as authentically and as quality as I can.

— Jocelyn Murphy



Martina McBride

‘Joy of Christmas Tour’

WHEN — 7:30 p.m. Nov. 26

WHERE — First National Bank Exhibit Hall inside the Fort Smith Convention Center, Fort Smith

COST — $40-$50

INFO — 788-7300,,

Categories: Entertainment, Music