While she took her time recording “Blown Away,” the 2005 “American Idol” winner has been anything but, well, idle in the past year. She made her first foray into movies with last year's fact-based inspirational drama “Soul Surfer,” co-hosted the Country Music Association Awards with Brad Paisley for the fourth straight year and set up housekeeping in Nashville with her hockey-player husband Mike Fisher.
She also performed with an array of duet partners, so it's little wonder that Underwood's new music sounds more diverse than ever.
She and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler rocked a special Super Bowl edition of “CMT Crossroads”; their medley “Just a Dream/Dream On” just received one of Underwood's five CMT Music Award nominations. She reteamed with country music stalwart Randy Travis to record a new version of his “Is It Still Over?” for his 25th anniversary album. And she and legendary crooner Tony Bennett revisited the standard “It Had to Be You” for his Grammy-winning “Duets II” record.
Plus, she and Paisley sang together on the ballad “Remind Me,” for his 2011 album “This Is Country Music.” It became a No. 1 hit last summer.
Paisley returned the favor for “Blown Away,” bringing his trademark scorching electric guitar licks to the raucous romp “Cupid's Got a Shotgun,” which Underwood penned with “Before He Cheats” writers Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins.
“Brad's great. Brad is the big brother I never had. He messes with me and picks on me like a little sister, so we work well together,” she said last fall.
While Underwood is back to jetting from the Big Apple to L.A. and even to London doing all the TV appearances, photo shoots and promotional concerts for her new album, her native Oklahoma clearly is still on her heart and mind: “Blown Away” also features the heartfelt tribute “Thank God for Hometowns.”