Recording information: Blackbird Studio, Nashville, TN; The Loft, Detroit, MI.
Editor: Nathan Chapman.
Photographers: Kristin Barlowe; Glynis Carpenter.
Everlasting is the second collection of covers Martina McBride has recorded, following 2005's Timeless by nearly ten years. A decade isn't the only thing separating the two records. Timeless was a collection of country covers but Everlasting has soul in its heart, with the singer tackling R&B standards from Aretha Franklin ("Do Right Woman, Do Right Man"), Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes ("If You Don't Know Me by Now"), the Supremes ("Come See About Me"), Otis Redding ("I've Been Loving You Too Long"), and Sam Cooke ("Bring It on Home to Me"). With the assistance of Don Was -- who gives the whole affair a warm, burnished sound; there's a lot of vibe here, even if there isn't a lot of room for the musicians to depart from the groove, nor much reason to -- McBride also expands her scope ever so slightly, giving Fred Neil's "Little Bit of Rain" a Memphis flavor, swinging through Etta James' "In the Basement" with Kelly Clarkson, and bopping through a version of Little Walter's "My Babe" that's certainly cleaner than the original but maintains a little of that Chess mojo. There's warmth in Was' production and honey in McBride's voice and if the combination can sometimes result in too-sweet tea, it's nevertheless soothing. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine