Country Music People March 2019 - Page 14

Country Gold, hosted by Terri Clark, is a music-intensive, fan-interactive program featuring special guest artists and country classics, airing on more than 150 radio stations. Among those Terri has interviewed are Ashley McBryde, Charley Pride, Ricky Skaggs, David Ball, Wade Hayes, Aaron Tippin, Lauren Alaina, Trace Adkins, Darius Rucker and Sara Evans, and the interviews are archived on her website - in amongst all these other songs that I was listening to for singles potential. I heard it and I texted her and I said, ‘Oh my God, who wrote this? I’m cutting this song. I know it doesn’t sound like a Top 40 radio smash but I’m cutting this song.’ It would have been at one time but in today’s climate Top 40 songs aren’t exactly what they… And this is the kind of song that made me fall in love with country music in the first place. Erin is such a great songwriter and artist in her own right. “It just encompasses what country music is about and it just grabs you by the heart. The story is such a coming of age, poignant story that they wrote about leaving your home town and, yeah, you can go back again but things aren’t going to be the same. It’s a really neat story. It’s about growing up, it’s about going forward and moving away from your home town and then coming back and seeing how much it’s still the same but you’re not. You’re different. I think everybody goes through that thing in their mind like, what would it be like if I had stayed? Where would I be right now in life if I had not left? And a lot of people don’t leave their home town and that’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m sure there are a lot of people that look at what their life would have been if they’d stuck around their home town and I certainly do.” If there is a statement being made on Raising The Bar it’s a subtle one. Ultimately it’s a contemporary country album, and a darn fine example of one at that. From the opening Givin’ Up Givin’ A Damn it wouldn’t be out of place on US country radio even now and it’s easy to imagine these songs resonating with a live audience whether in a club, arena or stadium. What could be viewed as ‘anthemic’ songs could just as easily be considered ‘commercial’. Tracks like As Long As There’s A Bar and The One That Got Away not only demand to be heard, they sound as though they could be hits now or in 1998. “I wrote As Long As There’s A Bar with Erin Enderlin,” says Clark, mentioning the talented writer once again, “and I wrote The One That Got Away with Erin and Alex Kline who co-produced the record with me. They’re both thirty- somethings and I think it’s smart and not a bad idea for me to write and hang out with and work on music with people that are younger than me and that maybe know a little bit more about things like social media and recording with loops and putting programs together. I’m always about trying to diversify and I’m always about trying to learn more about my craft and what I do and sometimes you just don’t know everything so it’s good to associate and network with people that are doing it every day, and Alex and Erin definitely do. 14 cmp - MARCH 2019 Both of those song ideas… I don’t even know where they came from… I had them written down and As Long As There’s A Bar was the first song that was written for this record. That was the first one and the rest followed suit and it wound up being a bit of a drinking theme throughout and so I called the album Raising The Bar.” When it comes to potential anthems they don’t come much more likely than Better Than I Was. It sounds like the kind of song Sugarland might kill for to resurrect their career. Clark doesn’t promise to get on the phone to Jennifer Nettles but appreciates the compliment. “Well, thank you. That’s a song I wrote with Nicole Witt and Chad Cates. Better Than I Was is the last song on the album for a reason because I feel like it sort of encompasses where I’m at in my life right now. It’s all just a journey and it’s all about learning things as we go. Learning from our mistakes, and you know it’s not a mistake if you learn something from it and you take it going forward in your life and apply it. If you can look at yourself and go ‘I’m not going to do that again’. Doing the same thing sometimes can have the same results. So that song is sort of that journey, that learning process in life. I’ve always been a bit of a late bloomer in every way, in every area of my life, so sometimes it takes a while to get there and I’m not there yet but I’m better than I was, and that’s what that song is all about.” Even now, when it comes to those behind the scenes in the studio, females tend to be under-represented, but the producer on Clark’s album, Alex Kline, has done her CV no harm at all with Raising The Bar. Reflecting further on not just the lack of females behind Nashville’s mixing desks but also on country radio, Clark says, “Alex is a great up-and-coming producer in Nashville and she plays every instrument there is and writes songs too. She’s a talent. And you just don’t hear a lot of distinctive female voices on the radio these days. It’s very few and far between. So we put together this tour where the three of us go out (Clark, Pam Tillis, and Suzy Bogguss) and sing harmony on each other’s songs, we play on each other’s songs. There’s no band except for the three of us on stage. We carry the whole show with just the three of us and we love each other as people, and we love the way we sound together. We enjoy collaborating on each other’s music and it’s very evident — the crowd always has a great time. I feel like I want to contribute to what may be missing right now and what may be missing right now is female voices that are singing hit songs. We bring that to them with this tour.” Sounding exactly like something UK audiences would love, Clark agrees and adds, “We’ve been having discussions