Martina McBride is saddling up for one last ride with the reigning “King of Country.”
George Strait is opening his aptly named “The Cowboy Rides Away Tour,” which he has said will be his last, Friday night with a home-state stop in Lubbock, Texas. He will play the second show on his 2013-14 farewell jaunt at 7:20 p.m. Saturday at Chesapeake Energy Arena, where he has ruled as a top draw since the venue opened back in 2002.
After she opened for “King George” on his 2012 tour, McBride, 46, said she was surprised and happy to be invited to support the 60-year-old superstar on his farewell trek.
“There's a lot of acts that would love to be on this tour, and you know, I feel a little greedy actually,” she said with a laugh during a phone interview last week from Nashville, Tenn.
“It's really an honor to get to be chosen to come back and be part of this very momentous part of his career. (It's a) momentous tour, and obviously he could've had anybody on this tour.”
The platinum-selling songstress will open the tour dates with a 70-minute set featuring her biggest hits, fan favorites and album cuts, including tracks from her 2011 album “Eleven.”
Her 11th studio album and first release on Republic Nashville, “Eleven” added two more hits to her repertoire: the uplifting ballad “I'm Gonna Love You Through It,” about a husband supporting his wife through her breast cancer battle, and the parenting anthem “Teenage Daughters,” which she co-wrote from personal experience. She and her husband, sound engineer John McBride, have three girls.
“I wrote a lot for the record and just kind of pushed the boundaries a little bit style-wise. And it was a lot of fun to make that record,” said McBride, who released her debut album in 1992 on RCA Records, her label home until 2010.
The Kansas native said she is readying to record her 12th studio effort.
“We're actually just starting to figure out a direction,” she said. “It's always exciting to start a new album, definitely. You know, it's a whole blank canvas and a whole new page. You can paint any kind of picture you want.”
But performing live endures as one of her favorite aspects of her more than two-decade career.
“I love every part of it, but performing live is great because you get that immediate connection with fans. It's just spontaneous, and so I love it for that reason,” she said. “I love to perform. I've always loved it since I was a kid.”