LeAnn Rimes ends a four-year hiatus this week and returns to record store shelves with her 13th studio album, ‘Lady & Gentlemen.’ As with her platinum-selling self-titled release from 1999, ‘Gentlemen’ is a collection of covers — but this time around, she decided to give things a new twist.
The idea, as Rimes explained during a recent Taste of Country interview, was to put a feminine spin on songs written and/or made famous by men, including George Jones, John Anderson, John Conlee and Merle Haggard.
“We definitely pushed the envelope a little bit with every song and paid the homage to the original, but made it my own, completely bringing them to a new generation of fans,” says Rimes. “Also, I think the people that grew up with these songs will have something that’s a new kind of spin on songs they can hopefully fall in love with again.”
One of the more interesting choices was ‘When I Call Your Name,’ written and originally recorded by Vince Gill — who, as the co-producer of ‘Lady & Gentlemen,’ was in the room when Rimes recorded her version. “It was cool because I really got to create and explore and change that song into a completely different thing,” she recalls. “I know Vince loved it, but it was funny because his daughter, Jenny, came in and heard it. She said, ‘Dad, I think I actually finally like this song!’”
Oddly enough, the album’s current single, ‘Give,’ is only available as a bonus track or digital download — but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important to Rimes. “I think the message of the song is so important,” she insists. “I think we’ve always, in this country, think we need to give with money … We forget that we’re here to give back to one another of ourselves, and not just monetarily. I think that’s really kind of the message that I want to get through to people with this song. I feel like this little vessel carrying this big message around.”