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Reba’s a singer on the go

She’ll make a stop tonight at Provo’s Stadium of Fire

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OREM — Despite the title of her latest album, Reba McEntire doesn't need much room to breathe. Truth be told, a glance at McEntire's list of current projects nearly takes your breath away.

There's her current concert tour, which will be making a stop tonight at Brigham Young University's LaVell Edwards Stadium. Then, there's her television series, "Reba," which will return in the fall for its fourth season on The WB, as well as a recent stint on Broadway.

And don't forget that she has penned two books, appeared in 10 movies and recorded 28 albums. But don't worry that McEntire, whose most recent album, "Room to Breathe," is a commercial and critical hit, is spreading herself too thin.

"It's just a little bit at a time. We do the show and then we do our tour," McEntire told the Deseret Morning News during an interview Friday.

"On my show, it's been fun getting to meet new people, do something different and have a different script every week, whereas on the tour you sing a song that you've been singing for 25 years. It's totally different in that aspect, but both (are) very fun and very exciting."

McEntire's busy schedule is a detriment in some regards, however.

According to her official Web site — www.reba.com — her latest tour, which stops in 36 cities, was delayed by several years so that she could launch her TV series and star in the Broadway revival of "Annie Get your Gun."

While that put her music career on hold, McEntire said she's fallen in love with acting and the upbeat atmosphere on the "Reba" set, something that Suzanne Alexander, host of GAC's video request show "CRL," credits to McEntire's down-to-earth charm.

"As big as she gets and as successful as she becomes, Reba has still remained the same," Alexander said.

But being friendly is just the way folks are in Chockie, Okla., where McEntire was reared. McEntire, who grew up in a rodeo-loving, family, sang the national anthem at a local rodeo. And that's where she was discovered.

The rest is history, as they say, but McEntire hasn't forgotten her upbringing in Oklahoma, where American patriotism runs fierce in families.

"We are a very fortunate nation to have our freedom," she said. "And if you don't understand that, go to another country where they don't have their freedom.

"It's one thing that I cherish, and I do not take for granted. Many, many lives have been taken to make sure that we have our freedom and that's very special."

As a result, McEntire said she stands wholeheartedly behind the U.S. soldiers fighting across the globe. She's delighted many will watch her performance at the Stadium of Fire tonight via a special Armed Forces satellite system.

And you won't hear McEntire speaking ill of President George W. Bush, either.

"There's always something you could find that's wrong, but I'm always for finding the positive — around children, especially," McEntire said. "Because it's really easy to badmouth a person. It's harder to pay a compliment."

McEntire has been given her fair share of compliments — from both fans and the record industry. She boasts two Grammy awards, 48 million in record sales and 53 No. 1 singles — a record for a female country music artist.

And she was nominated last year for a Golden Globe for her acting work on "Reba."

"You'll always find a place to put a trophy if somebody says they like what you're doing," she joked.

But with "Reba" resuming soon — and a host of other projects on her plate — it may be a while before Reba returns to the concert stage.

If you stop to catch your breath, Reba's already off and running.

"Maybe something will come up next year, and if it does, I'll be ready for it," she said. "It's always that curiosity of, 'Well, how would that work? Can I do that?' And I just go do it."


E-mail: lwarner@desnews.com