Following her exit from long-time label home Mercury Records in 2006, Terri Clark inked a deal with BNA Records just a few months later. Under the Sony imprint, she released two singles to radio, but both stalled just inside the Top 40 on the U.S. Country chart. Both were bona fide hits in her native homeland of Canada, however, as ‘Dirty Girl’ rose to a #13 peak and the unreleased album’s title cut, ‘In My Next Life’ went all the way to #1. After delaying the release of the album several times, the label and Clark parted ways, with the singer promising to focus more of her energy on her native country, and possibly form her own label.
She did just that in earlier this year when she created BareTrack Records. As promised to her fans, a live album was soon available. Terri Clark Live: Road Rage was the first release on the new label, sold digitally and exclusively through Terri’s website and at her concerts. When time came to release The Long Way Home, BareTrack struck a distribution deal with Capitol Nashville/EMI Canada to get physical copies of the CD to retailers across North America. Recording the album in a bit of an unconventional way, Terri took to the studio for two days, and recorded the entire album in three takes.
Amid the turmoil within her career and label changes, Terri’s mother Linda Clark, was diagnosed with cancer. The singer’s priority became caring for her mother and she returned to Canada for an extended stay. After a long fight and with her mother in remission, Terri returned to Nashville to record The Long Way Home, armed with an arsenal of stellar songs and a vision of just how she wanted them to sound. Every track on the album was written or co-written by Terri and her age is showing, and the signs of maturity setting in on Terri Clark, the woman, is evident in these songs.
‘Gypsy Boots’ is the album opener and first single, released in the U.S. and Canada, and reached the top 10 in Canada, but failed to chart below the border. Terri wrote the song that tells of a musician and her penchant for the traveling life with Leslie Satcher and Jon Randall. An acoustic version, which showcases the lyric in a much more flattering aesthetic, closes the album.
There are really no throwaway tracks on the set, but plenty of standouts. The second single, released only in Canada, is the melodically-driven ‘If You Want Fire’. Drums and bass kicks help keep the song moving too. It’s thematically similar to Garth Brooks’ ‘Standing Outside the Fire’, and is just a real lyrical treat with a great hook. Spoken like someone who’s been burned a time or two herself, Terri imparts a bit of wisdom she’s picked up, ‘If you gotta have it, all that madness and passion, then you’ll learn/If you want fire, it better be worth the burn.’
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