There are two special days for tours: the opening show and the final show. Martina McBride is eagerly anticipating the first stop of her “Everlasting” tour, which kicks off Thursday at the Stiefel Theatre in Salina.
“I can’t wait for everyone to see what I have on this tour, because this time it’s different,” McBride said while calling from Nashville, where she is in rehearsals.
It is different for the country music star because she’s going out with a horn section and a group of background vocalists for the first time in her career, which has spanned a quarter-century.
“That’s a reason this tour is significant, and it’s also important because I’m opening in my home state,” McBride said. “That’s huge for me.”
McBride, 47, was born in Sharon and grew up with country music. “It was all about country when I was a kid,” McBride said. “It was everywhere.”
But eventually other styles of music would have an impact on McBride, who possesses a powerful set of pipes.
“I grew up during the ’80s, and I was into Journey, Pat Benatar and Night Ranger,” McBride said. “During the last tour, I threw in some ’80s covers like Scandal’s ‘The Warrior,’ but they didn’t go over too well.”
Despite that, McBride hasn’t shied away from covers. “Everlasting,” her 12th album, features McBride’s versions of R&B and soul classics. She succeeds at Philly soul (Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes’ “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”), iconic cuts (Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” and Sam Cooke’s “Bring It on Home to Me”) and the sweet and innocent (The Supremes’ “Come See About Me”).
“It was a labor of love,” McBride said. “I didn’t discover these songs as a child, but when I did find them later on, I just loved them.”
Don Was, who produced the album, helped McBride sift through songs.
“He was great since he’s an expert in everything under the musical umbrella,” McBride said. “He said, ‘Do you want to go with Philly Soul or Detroit or Muscle Shoals?’ He gets it.”
McBride considered more than 100 songs but cut that list down to 12. “Some of the songs didn’t fit me,” she said. “Some of the songs were too raw or just didn’t seem right.”
She’s presenting the tunes old-school style. “Everyone will be dressed to put on a show, and we’ll be doing the moves, not quite Temptations style, but it will be a very visual show.”
However, don’t look for video screens.
“I thought about that,” McBride said. “How can I do a show with these classic songs and trying to play it the way they did back in the day with modern touches? That’s not happening. Besides, I would rather not have people watch a video screen. We’re playing these intimate venues. I hear the venue in Salina is amazing.”
This is McBride’s second collection of covers. “I enjoyed doing ‘Timeless’ (in 2005),” McBride said. “It was just time to come back with another one of these albums.”
Will she wait another decade to release another covers album?
“I don’t know what I want to do next,” McBride said. “I’ve been asked when I’ll do another album of original material. I’ll do another one of those albums, but I also want to do a Sinatra, big-band kind of album, and I would like to do a gospel album. The options are limitless, and that’s a good thing.”