Country Music People March 2019 - Page 13

Le s l r i g e h t r fo TERRI CLARK is back with a female empowering project, and it might be her best ever. BY KELLY GREGORY. I t might be nearly 25 years since Terri Clark made her debut with her #3 hit Better Things To Do but the Montreal-born and Alberta, Canada raised singer and songwriter is as busy as ever. Over the years she has remained a huge fan favourite (her fan club are known as ‘Hat Brats’ in honour of her ever-present headgear), she presents a weekly syndicated radio show as well as touring in her own right, and with Suzy Bogguss and Pam Tillis for the Chicks With Hits tour. On top of all that she still finds time to record new music and her most recent, Raising The Bar, might just be one of her best yet. Always known for her no-nonsense feistiness, ballsiness even, there seems to be a thread of female empowerment running through her latest. “I would say so, yeah,” agrees Clark. “That’s a pretty fair assessment of what I’ve kind of represented with my hits and things like that over the years. It’s kind of put me in my own category a little bit and I’ve been fortunate to have that kind of image. It’s a bit of a stand out thing and I’m grateful for it.” From the moment she had saved enough money to make the move to Nashville and play for tips in the legendary Tootsies Orchid Lounge, to her major label deal with Mercury Records and singing that she could “Check the air in my tires / Straighten my stereo wires” rather than see her deadbeat boyfriend in her first hit, Terri Clark has portrayed the image of a strong woman. “I think that just following where you genuinely feel your heart going musically and things that you’re resonating with whether you write them or not you have to be able to deliver that in a believable fashion,” she says. “Although I’m Canadian and very polite and apologetic, like all Canadians are, I also have another side of me that’s very driven and I go after things that I want and I don’t let the grass grow under my feet for very long. That side of my personality is the side that comes out the most in a lot of the older hits.” Once Terri Clark got down to making the new album it wasn’t long before a couple of things started to become apparent. Firstly, it seemed that all the songs were connected by drinking, hence the title Raising The Bar, and secondly, it became a project with a strong female cast, from the songwriters down to the producer. “That did happen naturally,” she asserts. “It wasn’t my intention to have an album that was so female heavy in the production and writing credits. Nor was it my intention to have a theme that was about drinking,” she laughs. “It just kind of evolved that way. “I just figured I would cover it all. Country music and drinking have always been themes that go together. Even now, you look on the charts and how many songs are there about Drunk Me and One Drink Ago and there’s a lot of it still prevalent on the charts with popular music but I like those old barroom honky tonk drinking songs like As Long As There’s A Bar. Those are fun.” One of the songs, Weddings, Funerals, And Hotel Bars, not only has all the hallmarks of a great country song, but its underlying story of a woman making her own choices almost defines the album and the ‘Me Too’ movement world in which we now live. Clark doesn’t get political but reflecting on the song she says, “Oh, Erin Enderlin snuck that song into a whole bunch of songs that she was pitching to me. She created a Dropbox file and that was sort of tucked MARCH 2019 - cmp 13