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STARific Review: Martina McBride - Timeless

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Memories of Martina McBride's musical childhood sparked the inspiration for Timeless, and the result is just that! From the woman who gave us her own classics like "Independence Day" comes this phenomenal 18-track super pack! For it, she requested renowned instrumentalists, and the decision escalates this album's appeal a hundred times over. Paul Franklin (steel guitar), Stuart Duncan (fiddle), Glenn Worf and Larry Paxton (bass guitars), Gordon Mote (keyboard), Steve Gibson, Paul Worley, and Marty Schiff – he's Martina's brother (guitars), and Eddie Bayers (drums), round out the A-list musicians on this project. She also took complete control of the reigns as solo producer.

From the steel guitar intro into YOU WIN AGAIN, you just know you've found something very special. Smart true-to-life lyrics and a compelling woe-is-me presentation made it a top ten for the late Hank Williams, Sr. (Charley Pride also scored a #1 with the tune). Those same qualities make Martina's rendition shine as well. The bluegrass-tinged I'LL BE THERE is enjoyable – no bells and whistles needed in this simple declaration of dedication. (A side note: that's Rhonda Vincent and Dan Tyminski featured on this track!) Martina is known for effectively conveying pain through voice; this gift is evident in I CAN'T STOP LOVING YOU, a track doused with despondent sentiments, and also in TODAY I STARTED LOVING YOU AGAIN. Part of the charm of (I NEVER PROMISED YOU A) ROSE GARDEN lies in the prominent vocal harmonies and majestic string accompaniment. Recognizing the beauty of those very factors in Lynn Anderson's 1970 #1, Martina wisely chose to feature them in her own performance. Her usually sweet voice packs a loaded punch in YOU AIN'T WOMAN ENOUGH, paying glorious tribute to Loretta Lynn's sing-it-like-it-is personality!! The clever ONCE A DAY is an attempt to shine a positive light on a gloomy situation. PICK ME UP ON YOUR WAY DOWN and HEARTACHES BY THE NUMBER are not only delightful toe-tappers but both are epitomes of genius songwriting – the common thread is their writer, the late great Harlan Howard. At first listen, Hank Snow's I DON'T HURT ANYMORE might seem an unexpected inclusion; however, Martina's flawless vocal styling is a highlight on this fiddle-ridden tune. The flowing ballad, TRUE LOVE WAYS, is perfect for her soaring voice! Her emotion-filled TIL I CAN MAKE IT ON MY OWN makes a rare jewel sparkle with renewed brilliance. I'll bet Tammy Wynette is smiling right about now! Next is I STILL MISS SOMEONE, a tune originally recorded by the acclaimed "man in black," Johnny Cash. Add in Dolly Parton's timeless harmony to Martina's dead-on delivery, and you've got the cherry atop an already perfect cheesecake. Martina's take on SATIN SHEETS is similar to her predecessor Jeanne Pruett's original, down to the background vocal parts. Get ready to snap your fingers and tap your toes to THANKS A LOT, a sarcastic expression of gratitude for everything lost. A broken heart doesn't prevent the ideal that LOVE'S GONNA LIVE HERE AGAIN; this Buck Owens self-penned tune eventually became his signature song. When a particular song gets redone time and again, it can begin to lose its original luster; such should be the case with MAKE THE WORLD GO AWAY. Unlike other artists, Martina chose to remain true to the original, remembering the way she heard it growing up. You can feel the pain dripping from her voice in HELP ME MAKE IT THROUGH THE NIGHT.

The genius of Timeless is this: Fans who grew up listening to these country classics can enjoy them once again. Meanwhile, fans of younger generations are afforded a sensational opportunity to discover some country music treasures in their finest forms. Martina's voice is as Timeless as the classics she has chosen – not that she ever needed anyone to validate her talent!


Martina McBride
RCA Nashville
Released October 18, 2005

Martina McBride


1. You Win Again
2. I'll Be There
3. I Can't Stop Loving You
4. (I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden
5. Today I Started Loving You Again
6. You Ain't Woman Enough
7. Once a Day
8. Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
9. I Don't Hurt Anymore
10. True Love Ways
11. Til I Can Make It On My Own
12. I Still Miss Someone
13. Heartaches By the Number
14. Satin Sheets
15. Thanks a Lot
16. Love's Gonna Live Here Again
17. Make the World Go Away
18. Help Me Make It Through the Night

Reviewed by: Estella Pan

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