Reba McEntire’s easy passion for life is evident in everything she does

Momentum isn’t just a dress.

Reba McEntire is channeling the big red arena with a head full of cotton candy, and a smile that would give Neymar Guiorette pause. The country cutie recently released a full cover of “Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You,” the newest record from Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 tour. (iTunes)

But don’t expect to see this former go-to casting director pull some Hee Haw for the military. She’s excited about the team she’s built up around herself: Relatively new band, several new collaborators, producers who tell her, “‘You’re alive right now. You got a wonderful voice,’” she says, “‘Let’s go to the next level’” and, mostly, a family and crew that thinks, “‘I know you want to be an artist, and we’ll work on it.’”

Reba’s already hit the top of the country chart once, with “Going Out Like That” off her highest-charting studio album, an unlikely fluke after going No. 1 as a guest performer on Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats.” She’s also an emcee for the All-Star Jam benefiting Feeding America on March 31. (tickets at

Reba also gets good reviews — EW described her duet with Miranda Lambert on “Summertime” from her more recent album, “Sing It Now,” as “one of the highlights of the last decade” (Us Weekly).

Last year, she finished the leg of her tour, supporting the indefatigable Nashville vocalist Martina McBride. Next up, she’ll go on tour with the Dixie Chicks in July.

It’s an exacting schedule, with everything the 64-year-old will need to do and another commitment she’s had to subdue herself for. A week before Reba arrives to write this interview, she is being flown to the Georgia coast for the Lady Antebellum tour with Dolly Parton. “I’m kind of relieved I can’t make it,” she jokes.

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