By Jeffrey B. Remz, October 2000
Musically, acoustic guitars dominate the sound, something previously incorporated, but not to this degree.
"It's just my thing. It's what I really like. Part of that is because I'm an acoustic player, and part of that is I love bluegrass and folk music. I cut my teeth listening to The Judds' 'Why Not Me.' I told Steuart up front I do not like string instruments, and I'm not a keyboard fanatic."
"I'm a bigger fan of the left side of country," says Clark. "There's a pop side and then a rock-folk-bluegrass side. Some people are into the pop side. Face it. That's what sells. It makes more money. It makes more fame. Some people really like that. But you got to go where you heart is. My heart doesn't lie on that side of that spectrum."
When it comes to the songs this time around, the songwriting partners tend to underscore that. Folks like Marty Chapin Carpenter, Beth Neilsen Chapman, Annie Roboff and Gary Burr.
Clark wrote the first song, "No Fear" with Carpenter.
The two met at the Country Music Association awards two years ago. "What two artists would you put together?" Clark asks about songwriting. "I think Terri Clark and Mary Chapin Carpenter wouldn't come to anybody's mind. We're a lot more alike than people think we are. We both have our public personas."
" When you get somebody out of their public whatever it is that they are and one on one with a real person, you discover things. She's really funny. It's not all big words and intellect I can't understand, and I'm not all jokes and bouncing off the walls like people think I do. We had a really comfort level. We wrote 'No Fear' the first time."
Clark covered "Easy From Now On," recorded a quarter of a century ago by Emmylou Harris who sings on the Carlene Carter-Susanna Clark song. Chapman suggested the song to Clark.
"I have the album version of it," she says, adding, "It fits the record. It's a gentle song, but it has some attitude. But the track is very gentle."
As for Clark's favorite, it's "Take My Time," co-written with Angelo, a Massachusetts boy who has worked with Richey. The song has a Tom Petty/Neil Young vibe.
"We set by the bar by that song. We got to get 10 more like this," Clark says she remember feeling. "I don't know that we did because I still think it's the best song on the album. They don't come along once in a blue moon. It was a lot of fun. I've never had so much fun making a record or writing."
"I love the groove and production. I think it's a sexy song. It's very uncontrived. Very bare bones, honest and true. I don't know its my favorite song lyrically but as a whole vibe I really really love that track."
"A Little Gasoline," penned by Tammy Rogers and Dean Miller, was a late addition.
"We went back in and found 'A Little Gasoline,'" Clark says. "We were looking for one more single. We needed something that would sort of tie in what I've been doing in the past. That would tie me back to radio because I've been gone away for awhile. Something that had that hit factor. Not to say that there aren't songs that aren't (hits), but they are different. It's very hard to tell these days what they're going to grab, and what they're not going to grab."
The songs tend to be more personal than previous Clark outings. "Empty," written with Burr, tends to confirm that when she sings "Maybe it's been a little too long/holding it in, trying to be strong/funny the things we bottle up."
"To Tell You Everything," written with Carpenter, also finds Clark opening up her emotions in the search for the perfect companion.
"They're finding everything about me in my heart and in my head," Clark says of the album. "It's a very personal journey, and the album was a personal journey. You're putting yourself in a vulnerable position to do that. But that's what music is. It's not all head bobbing and line dancing. There are other parts of it."
Well, not everyone apparently is so thrilled about the approach, Clark says with a laugh. "One of my fans who doesn't like the album, she said, "I'll always go to see Terri shows, but I don't know if I'm into this Kumbaya music."