Reba McEntire’s ‘My Chains Are Gone’ Album Has Lots of Sweet Connections to Her Late Mother
The title track of Reba McEntire's new gospel project, My Chains Are Gone, holds a special, personal meaning for the singer: It reminds her of the freedom and joy she felt after she got baptized at the age of 12.
The singer and her siblings were baptized in a church near their hometown of Chockie, Okla., and her dad got baptized in the nearby Stringtown. But McEntire's mother, Jacqueline, didn't officially get baptized for several more decades, McEntire recounts to Taste of Country and other outlets during a conversation about her new release.
"When Mama was ... 87? Let's see, it was in 2015 — she went to church and had never been baptized. So she went to church, walked down the aisle at altar call and ... the preacher said, 'Jackie, what can I do for you?'" the star remembers. "And she said, 'Well, preacher, I've come to turn myself in. I'm tired of doing it by myself.'"
In her late '80s, Jacqueline McEntire finally decided to be baptized. Just five years later, in 2020, she died at the age of 93. "And it's just pretty cool, when you say, 'My chains are gone, I've been set free because I gave my life to the Lord,'" the singer reflects.
"When you hear of somebody passing and you know you've given their life to the Lord, it's not like, 'Oh, I'm so sorry.' It's like, 'Praise the Lord,'" she continues. "And, 'I'm so thrilled for them that they get to be there. I hope I see them someday.' Well, I know I will, because I've given my life to the Lord also."
My Chains Are Gone is a two-part project: A CD assembly of traditional gospel standards and McEntire's own original songs, plus a DVD that revisits her 2017 headlining concert at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. That concert took place shortly after McEntire released Sing It Now: Songs of Hope and Faith, her gospel album from that year, and it includes guest artists like Kelly Clarkson, Trisha Yearwood and Southern gospel family band the Isaacs, all of whom now appear on the new DVD.
Also joining the show were McEntire's own family members: Her siblings Alice and Susie, plus their mom, joined McEntire onstage. All three sang backup harmony on "I'll Fly Away," a song that she also invited them to join her for in the studio version.
"You know how siblings are — when we get to singing, 'You're louder than me!' 'Well, back up!' That kinda stuff was on all the time," the star remembers with a chuckle.
Also on the My Chains Are Gone DVD is "I Got the Lord on My Side," a song that McEntire wrote and gave her mom a songwriting credit for after Jacqueline suggested a change in the lyrics.
"To get to have Mama, Alice and Susie on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium — because that was the first time I'd ever even done a concert there," McEntire continues, underscoring the magnitude of incorporating family into the event, "We've been going there since I was, like, seven years old, and watching concerts at the Grand Ole Opry. So that was huge for us."
Looking back on that 2017 concert now — after a global pandemic, and Jacqueline's death in 2020 — McEntire calls the footage on the DVD "priceless."
"I'm so glad that we had Mama onstage," she notes, also nodding to all the other guest performances who made the show such a once-in-a-lifetime event. "And then to have Trisha, Kelly, the Isaacs ... that was a really special night to have all those folks in, to come join me and my band. It was just a really special night."
Both the CD and DVD of McEntire's My Chains Are Gone project are out now.
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