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Martina McBride bringing holiday ‘Joy’ to Chicago



MartinMcBride brings her 'The Joy Christmas' tour Rosemont Theatre Dec. 20. | GETTY IMAGES/Rick Diamond

Martina McBride brings her "The Joy of Christmas" tour to the Rosemont Theatre on Dec. 20. | GETTY IMAGES/Rick Diamond

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Martina McBride — ‘The Joy of Christmas,’ 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21, Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Rd., Rosemont. $36.50-$76.50. Visit

Updated: December 19, 2013 12:54PM

These are hectic days for Martina McBride. And not just because she’s out on the road with her annual “Joy of Christmas” tour, which ends in Chicago (as it did last year) on Dec. 21, this time the Rosemont Theatre. And then it’s off to the races.

McBride is among those participating in an all-star tribute to Gregg Allman in January in Atlanta. She’ll be on the road in the spring with George Strait on the final leg of his farewell tour. And on March 4, the 47-year-old singer will release her new CD, “Everlasting,” a collection of classic soul and R&B covers from the ’50s through 2010 such as “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man,” What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” and “If You Don’t Know Me By Now.”

McBride recently talked to the Sun-Times about her holiday tour

Question: Are there new components to this year’s holiday concert?

Martina McBride: There isn’t a whole lot of new stuff. In fact there’s much of the same show we did last year and that’s intentional. Part of the reason I wanted to do a holiday tour every year was to create a tradition. For example, we ended our tour in Chicago last year, and we’re ending it there this year. The music we did last year is pretty great, so we’re sticking with it. There’s no sense in messing with it. We kept the really fun aspects of the show, the hymns and pop music that cover the whole spectrum of Christmas. We want people to come and see something familiar. Much in the same vein as the Rockettes, it’s pretty much the same show every year that becomes a tradition for families. That’s what we wanted to create. Just a real family holiday tradition.

Q. What are your top three favorite Christmas songs?

MM: I love “O Holy Night” because it captures the whole spirit of Christmas. I love to sing “Let it Snow” and “Winter Wonderland” because they’re really just a lot of fun to sing. I guess I would have to add “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “The Christmas Song.” Ya, I just love “The Christmas Song.” It’s just beautiful.

Q. What’s the one dish you simply must have at your Christmas table?

MM: Well, I guess it wouldn’t be Christmas without this salad I make. It’s basically pimiento cheese, marshmallows, Cool Whip and pineapple. It’s sounds gross but it’s like candy and we really only have it on special occasions. It’s like this giant bowl of Cool Whip with marshmallows.

Q. Do you have a favorite television holiday special that you have to watch every year?

MM: I still love “Frosty the Snowman.” It’s so happy and then he makes you cry.

Q. Do you make a New Year’s resolution?

MM: I do make a New Year’s resolution. It’s always the same one: to get more organized. Every year I want to organize photos and videos and transfer them over to the computer and every year I don’t.

Q. Your new album, “Everlasting” is due out in March. What can you tell me about it?

MM: It’s a cover album of ’60s and ’70s soul and R&B tunes. Everything from Aretha to Elvis to Otis. Don Was produced it. I’m just loving it.

Q. Elvis seems to be one of your favorite artists. You recorded a “duet” with him of “Blue Christmas” and you cover one of his songs on the new album.What is it about his music that touches your soul?

MM: He’s Elvis! He’s very soulful and a lot of people can relate to him as a person and an artist. He was a great singer.

Q. You’ve played Chicago many times over the years. What do you like about the city and it’s audiences?

MM: I do love Chicago. I think there’s such pride in the city that people have. There are great restaurants, great shopping, but mostly great people. It’s a huge commitment to end your tour in a particular city because you always want to end your tour on a high note. That’s why we chose Chicago again this year. It was such a high note last year that we wanted that feeling again.

Q. What do you hope your Christmas concert says to audiences each year?

MM: I want them to leave the show feeling ready for Christmas. Everybody wants to be in the Christmas spirit.

Twitter: @MiriamDiNunzio

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