Reba McEntire Is Ready to Love Again
Reba McEntire didn't write "From the Inside Out," a standout song from her new Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope album, but it's autobiographical just the same. The crying, the screaming, the dark despondency, the isolation ... it's all very real. It's all very Reba.
"I'm just like everybody else," McEntire tells Taste of Country. "I cry, I scream, I shout ... but not often. Not often. I'm more like a volcano. I hold it in and try to stay steady, I can do this, do this — and then it just explodes and then I'm OK."
Well, I need to be angry / I need to scream at the air / And the silence that’s there / When I pray, oh, when I pray.
Amy Fletcher wrote this song, Track 9 on the album's second disc. Fans aren't used to seeing the singer in this state. She's strong, successful, forever smiling and well, she's Reba fricking McEntire! The country legend isn't really used to opening up like this either, but there were a lot of tears as she cut this album.
"Yeah, it hurts," McEntire says. "It hurts to be that vulnerable."
Not every tear is obvious. Those looking to find her story on the album may overlook a first disc filled with traditional songs that's as dear to her as the second disc filled with originals. "How Great Thou Art" wrecked her, she says.
"Because that was Grandma Smith's, one of her favorite songs," she says, referring to her mother's mom. "I recorded it, got through and I was so emotional listening to it. I would just sob."
The album's title track also brought her to tears, she tells the Boot. Images in songs like "There Is a God" may leave fans crying. It's a very vivid collection that brings a heavy message she was tuned deeply into throughout, none greater than the first single "Back to God."
"The album was definitely part of the healing," she adds. "It helped me through a lot. When you're doing songs like 'From the Inside Out,' that's very true. You can heal but you heal strong and more securely if it's from the inside out instead of the outside in."
The focus is on McEntire's separation and eventual divorce from husband Narvel Blackstock after 26 years of marriage, but that's not the only heartbreak she's endured. Her father Clark died in October 2014 after a long illness, and there's more she alludes to but doesn't detail in song or conversation.
"I would say I am real close to being healed. I feel a lot better at this point in the year than I did a year ago, or even six months ago," McEntire says. "What I'm learning is to live every day and take that day to live it. And don't think about the past. What's past is past. You can't do anything about it except forgive, forget and go on. And then the future, that's tomorrow."
McEntire's eyes may be on tomorrow now. This album plus a new ABC television show have pulled her back into the spotlight, whether she wanted it or not. She'll continue to partner with Brooks & Dunn at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in 2017, and it sounds like the travel adventures of this motley trio will continue to be documented on their individual social media pages (can someone turn that into a reality show please?!).
But is her heart ready to give love another chance?
"Yes, I'm ready to go back in love," McEntire says, going out of her way to emphatically answer the question. "When you get to point in your life where you're back. You think, 'Well, I gotta fix me before I go out and have a relationship with somebody else.' I think I'm getting close. I think I might be a great companion or partner now."
Watch: Reba Talks About the Song That Wrecked Her
See Photos of Reba McEntire Through the Years