Martina Mcbride was introduced at this year’s CMT awards as “one of the greatest voices created by God.” She brought her Shine All Night tour and stunning four octave range to the Harv Theater at Mountaineer Racetrack and Casino last night. While debatable that her voice is the result of divine creation, she proved that she is one of the premier vocalists in all of music. The 90 minute show began with a funky techno remix of her hits before she appeared onstage to open with the hit single Ride. Upon singing the chorus, one cannot help but wonder how such a huge voice can come from such a tiny woman. At 5’2’, she is hardly a towering figure, yet she becomes imposing throughout the energetic show.
In many ways, she is a study in contradiction. McBride’s full voice so retains an understated silkiness as it soars on signature anthems, Independence Day and Wild Angels. But when she decided to really let go on showstoppers Broken Wing and Anyway, she likely made the Mountaineer management grateful that there were no structural flaws in the theater, as it may have been otherwise blown apart by the decibel level, Both songs drew rousing ovations a She bounced through the peppy This One’s for the Girls to the delight of the crowd with girls of all generations embracing and singing along.
Her classic beauty combined with Joan Jett sass makes her a cross between demure songstress and sexy rocker. Her youthful exuberance and charisma are contagious and belie her 44 years. The latest single, Wrong Baby Wrong, a slow jam feel on the album, was given a hard rock edge with some heavy chord work from guitarist Greg Foresman’s Les Paul.
She displayed the limited extent of her instrumental skill with a fun few notes to introduce You’re Not Leaving Me. One of the evening’s highlights was her cover of Kris Kristofferston’s classic Help Me Make It Through The Night where she displayed a seamless transition from breathless whisper to full voice. The show closed with the career making Independence Day which drew more gasps from the crowd.
In an industry obsessed with marketing 20 something crossover stars like Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift, it was refreshing to spend an evening with a 20-year seasoned veteran of the business. Mcbride is a master of her craft and when this era of country music has aged enough to be labeled “classic country”, it has found its queen, all 5’2” of her. There are singers and there are artists; Mcbride is clearly the latter