Martina McBride mined Motown hits for “Everlasting.” (Devin Doyle)

Martina McBride’s latest album is nothing new. The country superstar mined Motown classics for “Everlasting,” her first release from her own Vinyl Recordings label. McBride’s genre switch-up paid off: The bluesy collection of pop and R&B covers, including The Supremes’ “Come See About Me” and Van Morrison’s “Wild Night,” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s country albums chart in April. The mother of three also dug into her personal archives for “Around the Table,” a cookbook due in October. She’ll perform a postgame concert at Nationals Park on Saturday.


On paper, these songs don’t exactly go together. How did you compile the album?

A lot of the songs I really chose with the live shows in mind. … [Elvis Presley’s] “Suspicious Minds” is a song I’ve always wanted to record, and I always thought it would be really dramatic and cool to do it live. And then it just came down to what songs fit my voice, what songs I could perform authentically, what songs felt like they could be a Martina McBride record. It was really just dead instinct.

How did your own memories of these songs inspire you?

I think we all have memories associated with music — that’s what makes it so special. You know, where were we when we heard that song, what in our life was going on when these songs were on the radio. … I’m able to have a place where people can go and hear these songs again, because they’re not being played on current radio. I feel like I’m doing a service in a way.

Your performances on this tour are old-school with an intimate feeling. How’s that going to work in a big stadium?

This tour really plays both ways. It plays very intimate in performing arts centers and in theaters but I think it’s big, too. I’ve got, counting myself, 12 people onstage. So it’s a really big band, it’s very visual. I’ve got everybody in matching outfits, and they’ve got moves. There’s a lot of stuff going on onstage, so there’s always something to watch.

Will your big hits get a bluesy treatment like the album?

We do a lot of hits. … We worked out those songs to work in the horn element. … It’s fun for us to freshen it up. You don’t just want to go out and do some karaoke version of your show.

Do you always put so much thought into a tour’s aesthetic?

I just wanted to be all-in. I didn’t want to kind of show up and do a couple of Motown songs. I really wanted it to be like, “Wow, she’s really committed, she’s created something really amazing to see and has obviously put a lot of thought into it.”

And your cookbook is about creating atmosphere too, right?

I love to have people over at my house and to entertain. I feel like it’s intimidating for a lot of people; it’s intimidating for me sometimes. … It has a menu and it has recipes, but it also has ideas for place settings, for invitations, for setting the vibe. That’s what I love most about a party, is setting a feeling, you know?

Nationals Park, 1500 South Capitol St. SE, 202-675-6287, (Navy Yard) Saturday, 7:05 game time, $25-$350.