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If You Don't Know Me By Now 

From chart-topping to charities to cooking, Martina McBride is ruling the world

Country music superstar Martina McBride will bring her famed songs and smile to the Deschutes County Fair on July 30, but will she be serving her refreshing iceberg wedge salad?

When you have accomplished as much as McBride has—she's a three-time Academy of Country Music Top Female Vocalist and four-time Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year (a record shared with Reba McEntire and Miranda Lambert)—there comes a time when a new challenge is needed. Many musicians turn to television or movies, only to get reviews like, "Don't quit your day job, Elvis."

McBride wisely chose something that she was actually good at—cooking.

Her cookbook, Around the Table: Recipes and Inspiration for Gatherings Throughout the Year, was released last October. Not only does it include her mouth-watering recipes for triple chocolate cranberry oatmeal cookies and brined-and-braised short ribs, she also shares ideas for every occasion, even playlists. Whether reviewers loved McBride for her music first or not, the reviews were roundly positive, with comments like, "The book was like stepping into Martina's home for a party" and "Look out Martha Stewart."

But just putting out a great cookbook last year wasn't enough for the married mother of three, she also released her 12th studio album, Everlasting, in which she reincarnated R&B and blues classics like Van Morrison's "Wild Night," Aretha Franklin's "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man" and Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes' "If You Don't Know Me by Now." Many critics have praised the cover album, not only for the quality of the performances, but also the choice of songs. The album also features duets with Gavin DeGraw and Kelly Clarkson.

That style of remake has fairy-dusted her own classics on her Everlasting tour, like "Independence Day," which won Video of the Year and Song of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards in the early '90s when McBride was first starting out. (Interestingly enough, the song didn't make the top 10 because many radio stations didn't care for the message the song sent: an abused mother burns the family home to the ground as a way to fight back.) At that time, she was actually touring with Garth Brooks, not as an artist, but selling his memorabilia. And it was Brooks who, impressed by her enthusiasm, encouraged her to get a recording contract. Also with Everlasting, McBride became the first-ever female artist in the 50-year history of the Top Country Albums chart to debut at No. 1 with an independently released and distributed album. Brooks might just be selling T-shirts for McBride now.

Surprisingly enough, it wasn't until 2003 with the single "This One's For the Girls" that McBride accomplished a number one hit on the adult contemporary charts, while it only reached number three on the country charts. Also surprisingly, she has been nominated for a Grammy Award 14 times, but never won one. She still has plenty of time though; she just turned the timeless 49 years old this past week, and her classics are still going viral.

Last week, a bunch of grade-schoolers in Staten Island, New York, of the PS 22 Chorus, sang McBride's "I'm Gonna Love You Through It" to their teacher, Adriana Lopez, who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. (Grab some Kleenex and check it out on YouTube.) After the video went viral, McBride tweeted, "Music is so powerful and I am blessed to have been given this song. Thanks P22 Chorus and much love to Adriana Lopez."

McBride's own personal playlist is featured almost every day on Sirius XM's Y2Kountry, "The Martina McBride Show." She chooses her very favorite 2000s country tunes, and shares stories of her extensive experience on the country road.

McBride is also extremely active in the volunteering world. She is the current spokesperson for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the National Network to End Domestic Violence, and the Tulsa Domestic Violence and Intervention Services. She has hosted the Middle Tennessee's YWCA Celebrity Auction every year since 1995, and she partners with Loveisrespect, the national teen dating abuse helpline. She also rallies her fans to follow in her generous footsteps through her group "Team Martina" (teammartina.com).

Martina McBride

7 pm, Thursday, July 30

Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center Redmond

Free with fair admission ($12)

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