Carrie Underwood will unleash her brand new (yet-untitled) single very soon. It has been nearly 3-and-a-half years since the singer’s last full-length studio album, though her ample Greatest Hits collection last winter proved to be a proper placeholder while she was pregnant. It did spawn two massive hits after all. But now, the Oklahoma native is ready to set fire to the rain with her next release. Carrie teased earlier this year that her new project would have a “rock-twang” direction and that “there’s definitely a different sound that’s coming together.” While she’s been tight-lipped ever since, rumors have run a muck the past few weeks, as tension is building and nearly boiling over. Since 2012’s Blown Away (featuring “Two Black Cadillacs” and “Good Girl”), Carrie has enjoyed several out-of-the-box opportunities that have certainly stretched her limits, musically and vocally, such as a slot at the 2014 Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony (honoring Linda Ronstadt), the lead in NBC’s The “Sound of Music” (as Maria Von Trapp) and a Beatles tribute at the 2014 Emmy Awards.
As we hang on by a thread here at Country Outfitter, we have compiled five songs (below) that we (hope) have influenced the superstar performer over the past year. Most of these dreams are more iconic, but there are a few career-defining moments from recent times that would be super cool for Carrie to try.
Take a look:
5. Alan Jackson’s “Midnight in Montgomery,” from 1991’s Don’t Rock the Jukebox
Jackson was Carrie‘s first-ever concert, so it only makes sense that his influence would/could pepper into her own songs. Carrie has already dug into some darker material (“Blown Away,” “Two Black Cadillacs”), but a ghostly, sweeping ballad like this would be a refreshing additional to her growing catalog and have a lasting impact on the genre.
4. The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young,” off their 2010 self-titled debut
As the trio’s second radio single, it blasted on the charts in a huge way. It’s devastating but somehow hopeful perspective on death inspired millions of listeners across the globe, ultimately becoming their signature. Five years later, the track is one of the defining stories of modern country. Carrie, often steeped in larger-than-life pop-leaning production, could really utilize her voice on a more subdued, folk song.
3. Keith Whitley’s “When You Say Nothing At All,” from his 1988 Don’t Close Your Eyes record.
Whitley’s piercing song has been covered countless times since its release, which demonstrates its impact on the greater country legacy. The most notable cover is Alison Krauss & Union Station’s 1995 version (from Keith Whitley: A Tribute Album). It’s a simple acoustic-driven song, but a soaring and gut-punching story about love.
2. Holly Williams’ “The Highway,” the title track to her 2013 record.
On the “fringes” of country, Williams’ emotionally-powerful album proved that she could step from out under her grandfather Hank Williams, Sr.’s shadow. The title track is an especially effective and express track about loneliness and desperation and a longing for the comfort of home.
1. The Stone Poneys’ “Different Drum,” with Linda Ronstadt on lead vocal, from 1967’s Evergreen, Volume 2.
Carrie performed a stirring tribute to the legend, who can no longer sing due to Parkinson’s disease, at the 2014 Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame event. Bringing her country tear to the iconic song, Carrie showcased a truly dynamic vocal, unlike anything she had previously performed. The soulful, gritty, textured original performance (below) is one of Ronstadt’s finest moments, forever embedded in our hearts and minds.
Image Source: Jeremy Scott for CO