Martina McBride admits she’s more comfortable sharing more of herself now than she has been prior to the release of previous albums. She’s more willing to reveal her vulnerabilities, and she’s more candid about the early years of her career. The new single “Reckless” is the singer and husband John’s story, for better and worse.

McBride says the uptempo, almost symphonic country song is about gratitude for unconditional love, and while she didn’t write it (Zach Crowell, Heather Morgan and Sarah Buxton did), she immediately identified with it. As she finishes her debut album on Nash Icon Records, the married mother of three hopes others will, too.

“When I met John I was 20 years old and I was singing in clubs five nights a week until three in the morning ... and I was sort of making bad life choices,” McBride says, laughing. “Just staying up late, and partying and doing things that most 20-year-olds do.”

This image of a midwestern wild child doesn’t sync with the image she’s cultivated for over 20 years, and McBride knows that. But it’s not like she got in that much trouble.

“Nothing major. There’s not a police record or anything,” she jokes.

John saw through her “bad behavior” and helped her get her life together. Others who’ve heard “Reckless” have relayed similar and different experiences. One person thought of her mother. Another expressed that she wished someone had told her to be more reckless.

Joseph Llanes for Nash Icon Records

Producer Nathan Chapman joins McBride and Dann Huff to create a “production dream team” for an album of original songs slated for later this year. Chapman showed McBride how to approach vocals in a new way, and it immediately pays off on this new single. Even longtime fans will turn their heads in surprise upon hearing first line. There’s more like it on the album, but nothing quite like it.

“There’s some stuff on here that’s really rootsy and organic and more country-leaning,” she says, comparing the new album to Evolution (1997) or Wild Angels (1995). “I loved finding those songs and being able to do that.”

McBride relied on Nashville songwriters and ended up finding some of the most personal songs of her career. There was no deadline and no pressure from Nash Icon to finish. The result is a country legend finding new confidence and energy for an album that shares more of who she is than ever before.

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