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<i>Martina</i> Could Help McBride Earn Top Spot on Country Charts - 2003-11-15

During the past year, male artists and groups have dominated the top positions on Billboard's Country chart. That trend could soon change with Martina McBride's new studio album.

Martina McBride celebrates life in the Celtic-flavored track So Magical. She's, no doubt, in a celebratory mood, having just released "Martina," her first studio album since 1999's multi-million-selling collection, Emotion. McBride's new album broke all previous first-week sales records for the singer, and debuted at No. 1 on the Country Albums chart.

Martina has earned a reputation for bringing awareness to various social issues, such as alcoholism, and child and spousal abuse. She currently serves as the celebrity spokesperson for a number of charities that work with children and victims of domestic violence. Martina received this year's Minnie Pearl Humanitarian Award for her community and humanitarian efforts. Vince Gill presented the honor to her during the Grand Ole Opry's recent 78th birthday celebration. In addition, the Recording Academy recognized Martina for her charity work by giving her a 2003 Heroes Award.

Martina says, "I'd like to be known as someone who records songs that are intelligent and emotional." Her new album is full of songs with positive messages. She also included one cover song, a live version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

The song has become a concert favorite of Martina's fans. She says growing up in Kansas inspired her to record the song from Judy Garland's classic film The Wizard of Oz, which was set in Kansas.

Last year, Martina won her second Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year award. Her song Concrete Angel was one of four new tracks on her 2001 Greatest Hits CD.

By all indications, the first single from her latest album, Martina, could soon become her sixth No. 1 hit. The last time a female solo artist topped Billboard's Country Singles list was in March of 2002. And, that was accomplished by Martina with her recording of Blessed.