Martina McBride joins George Strait's farewell tour

Interview • Ahead of a Salt Lake City gig, singer talks about family and music.
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With more than two decades in country music, Martina McBride could be the queen of her own concert tour.

Instead, she's decided to tag along with King George — aka George Strait — for his farewell tour, "The Cowboy Rides Away." McBride will play 20 dates with Strait, including a Salt Lake City show on Friday, Jan. 25, then she'll do about 100 shows with her own band in 2013.

It's not the first time McBride has taken the stage in Utah; she's been here six times before. She recently spoke over the phone from her home in Nashville about her three daughters, touring with Strait and her music career.

What is it like when your three daughters become inspiration for songs you've written?

Honestly, we really don't talk about it that much. My career is something they've grown up with and gotten used to. In our house, it's not as important as a lot of other things. It's not like we sit down and have long conversations about what I do or songwriting or anything like that. I think they just accept it as part of their life. For me, when we're home, and you have teenagers, the focus is more on them and their friends and what they're doing. When I wrote "Teenage Daughters," I played that for Delaney right away because I was inspired by her, and that was funny and interesting and we moved on.

Do your daughters play Martina McBride around the house?

Yeah, they play my music some. They have certain songs on their iPods that they like. Definitely.

What is George Strait like to tour with?

He's great. You know, it's fun to watch his show. I've grown up with his music. It's a lot of fun. We come out and we do 70 minutes. Obviously, we share a lot of the same fans. It's always fun to go and play a sold-out arena, for sure.

How has your music changed?

It's changed in the fact that we've had more hits. We can sell more tickets. I don't spend a lot of time analyzing how things change, as long as everything is going well. I have a 21-year career. Obviously, I want to keep working and making music and making new records. It's what I've wanted to do since I was a little kid.

How do you go from enjoying playing music and creating music to wanting to record and go on tour and making it a career?

I think you just have to dream. Some people have different dreams. Some people want to play locally or just for themselves, and other people want to play on the big stage. And I've always been the kind of person who wanted to do it as big as possible and sing for as many people as possible and touch as many people as possible with my music. I've always dreamed of just going for it. We moved to Nashville. We made that move from a small town in Kansas and just, you know, decided to try and make it happen.

How is the 2011 album "Eleven" going?

It's going well. I don't honestly know exactly how many records we've sold. It used to be there was one outlet to sell records. It was a record store. Now there's digital. There's singles. So, there's a whole bunch of places to look and find out that information. I haven't really checked lately on "Eleven." But we had a Top 5 single with "I'm Gonna Love You Through It."

How much are you into social media these days?

I do Twitter. It's just a great way to keep track of my fans, to keep in touch and let them see a little bit different side than just normal interview questions. So, I'm really enjoying it.

How many followers do you have?

Let me see, I'll look it up for you. We have about 287,500 for Twitter. A little over half a million for Facebook. —

The Cowboy Rides Away

Country legend George Straight brings his farewell tour to Salt Lake City. Martina McBride opens the show.

When • Friday, Jan. 25, 7:30 p.m.

Where • Energy Solutions Arena, 301 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $69.50-$89.50 at