Martina McBride is one of the greatest voices in all of country music history. From the first note she sings in every song, her tone vibrates across the dashboard and into the eardrums; there’s no mistaking her for anyone else. Throughout her impressive career, she has permeated the airwaves with empowering inspirational ballads and toe-tapping uptempo numbers–radio might have long abandoned her, but she continues proving her mettle. Her 2016 Reckless album saw the singer return to her storytelling roots with one of her finest collections in a number of years.
To celebrate her career, One Country takes a look back and curates her greatest performances of all time. Read on for our picks. Did your favorite moment make the cut?
10 Greatest Performances From Martina McBride:
“Independence Day” (1995 TNN/MCN Awards)
The song which never hit the Top 10 at country radio is McBride’s most enduring classic. It’s harrowing topic was controversial at the time and led the way for women to feel empowered to reclaim their lives.
“Where Would You Be” (2001 Radio Music Awards)
Yep. She can shatter mountains and bring you to your knees–this is easily within her top three performances of all-time. Excuse the muted audio.
“Whatever You Say” (1999 ACM Awards)
As the defining power-note belter of the ’90s and early ’00s, McBride shows the full color of her voice on this sweeping mid-tempo ballad. This performance should be enough to send chills down your spine.
“Anyway” (2007 CMT Music Awards)
McBride’s sweet spot for inspirational gemstones reaches unbelievable new heights on this standout performance. Beginning with just a piano tinkling in the background, the singer digs her voice into one of the biggest hits of her career. When the band kicks in, she takes the entire crowd in the palm of her hand.
“A Broken Wing” (“CMA 40th Anniversary Celebration: Country Music’s Biggest Homecoming,” 1998)
When McBride was on her A-game, she hit it out of the park. This is a case of a talent singer shaking the earth to its core and sending up a heartfelt prayer to heaven’s gate. Perhaps her greatest performance ever.
“Does He Love You?,” Reba & Linda Davis Cover featuring Kelly Clarkson (2006 “CMT Giants”)
What voice could possibly match the strength of McBride’s? Kelly Clarkson, of course. The tender, forlorn ballad is an appropriate showcase of both singers abilities to dig into real human emotions and soar higher than the clouds. Stunning.
“I’m Gonna Love You Through It” (2011 “Late Night with David Letterman”)
McBride’s message songs helped define her as one of the best modern-day storytellers. This song about the ugly c(ancer) word reminded the country crowd exactly why she has such an enduring legacy. Stunning, really.
“I Never Promised You a Rose Garden,” with Lynn Anderson (2005 Grand Ole Opry)
Not many people can match the sweetness of this Lynn Anderson standard, but McBride certainly exceeds expectations. What’s even better? Turning the song into a duet!
“Stand By Your Man,” Tammy Wynette cover (2003 “CMT 100 Greatest Songs of Country Music” concert)
Subject matter aside, McBride can tackle pretty much any song in the country pantheon, including classic Wynette. She builds the song with an appropriate amount of tenderness and bravado, reaching the climax power note with relish and ease.
“Concrete Angel” (2003 Grammy Awards)
One of the biggest stages on the planet became a platform for sending a powerful message. McBride’s songbook is peppered with stories of abuse, but this one focuses on a young girl who is trapped by fate and ultimately pays the price. The sheer emotion in this performance is enough to crush any heart.
Honorable Mention: Some say, she’s lost her voice, but evidence–like this sterling performance of “My Baby Loves Me” on her 2016 tour–begs to differ.