[UPDATE - WE HAVE OUR WINNER. JON, WHO POSTED BELOW, WAS RANDOMLY SELECTED. THANKS EVERYONE, AS ALWAYS, FOR PARTICIPATING. HOPE I'LL HAVE MORE FUN THINGS TO GIVE AWAY OVER THE HOLIDAYS.
Want to win a pair of free tickets to see Martina McBride's Christmas show at the Fox Theatre on Friday? Leave a comment below and we'll randomly choose a winner at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets can be picked up at will call. And thanks to our friends at the Fox for making these great seats available!]
Six years have passed since Martina McBride’s last Christmas tour, and 14 years since “White Christmas,” her last holiday album.
But the country chanteuse known for “This One’s For the Girls,” “A Broken Wing,” “Independence Day” and a couple of dozen other hits, is ready to embrace the Christmas spirit this year with her “Joy of Christmas” tour, launching Friday at the Fox Theatre.
McBride, last seen in Atlanta earlier this year opening for George Strait, will return to the road with him next year, too, as he begins to wrap up the performing side of his career.
But first, there is an appearance on Thursday’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (9 a.m. on NBC) a new album in the planning stages and this 16-date Christmas tour.
McBride called in from Nashville earlier this week to let us know what to expect at Friday’s show and also give a glimpse of Christmas in the McBride household.
Q. We’re your first date of the tour, so have you done any special planning this week?
A. Yesterday I got all my outfits. I’ll have six costume changes. The first show is so important, so we always choose the locale carefully and try to find a place where we think will be a good place to start the tour.
Q. What about Atlanta makes it a good place to start?
A. We’ve had such great crowds and fans there, and fun shows. It seemed like it made sense to start there.
Q. I understand you have a large band – 12 pieces?
A.Yes, some string players and background vocalists as well as my regular band. We did [a Christmas tour] for three years starting in 2006. It was a larger production, but I sang to track, so it’s fun to have a band on stage. The show is a little more focused and I think it’s better than the one we put on before. It’s more intimate.
Q. What can fans expect to hear? Are you also doing non-holiday songs?
A. We’ll do most of the songs from my (1998) Christmas record, from “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” to “Let it Snow. We do a duet with Elvis on “Blue Christmas.” I’ll go out and chat with audience and have it be spontaneous and fun. We do hymns as well. My goal is to put everyone in the Christmas spirit. We do a couple of non-holiday songs, too.
Q. I assume the Elvis duet is on video. What is the rest of the production like?
A. Yeah, we use video to create an environment for each song. We have some snow and other things that I don’t want to give away. Everything you can think about for Christmas!
Q. It’s been awhile since you released a Christmas album. Is that something you’d do again?
A.We were going to do one for this year but the timing didn’t work out, so hopefully next year.
Q. What is your favorite Christmas song?
A. I love all Christmas music, so picking one is hard, but I love ‘O Holy Night.’ It’s so emotional. I really like singing the hymns.
Q. What’s a typical Christmas like in the McBride household?
A. We stay home all day and the five of us are all together. We have a big breakfast and I make a big dinner. It’s our day to just be in the house with each other – kind of like everyone else’s Christmas, really.
Q. What is your favorite part of Christmas?
A. I love being with my family, just taking the day to shut off the world. We have a 7-year-old so we still have an exciting Christmas morning.
Q. Is it unusual for you to be on the road so close to the holidays?
A. We haven’t done this tour since 2006, so yeah. It’s interesting because it forces you to get organized and start Christmas shopping early, which you don’t usually do. But doing a Christmas show every night puts you in a Christmas spirit as well. It’s a beautiful show, beautiful to look at.
Q. You’re going back on tour with George Strait. How do you feel about being part of his last live hurrah?
A. It’s really great, to be asked to be part of this special event. It’s really an honor.
Q. What else do you have planned for next year?
A. I’m starting a new album in January that will be out for September. I’m just starting to find songs for that, so it’s early in the process.