Carrie Underwood’s gift this Easter Sunday will be delivered from the stage of the “Mother Church of Country Music,” in Nashville.
“As a kid, I wanted to live in Nashville,” Underwood told “CBS This Morning: Saturday” co-host Michelle Miller. “I was just a little girl from Oklahoma, you know, a small town. I loved to sing, but lots of people love to. I have been given every open door that person could be given – I’m so blessed and so grateful. More than anything, I want to use those gifts to give back.”
Her virtual live concert at the Ryman Auditorium will be streamed on her Facebook page, for free.
Underwood noted, “It’ll be up for two days, so if you are at church, go to church, don’t stay home, don’t stay home and watch me! Go to church; you can watch me when you get home from church.”
“Carrie Underwood: My Savior, Live from the Ryman” will stream live on Underwood’s Facebook page on Sunday, April 4 beginning at 11 a.m. CT. RSVP here. (Donations to benefit Save the Children.)
The gospel songs of her childhood are reinterpreted on Underwood’s new album, “My Savior.”
Miller asked, “Let’s go back to that childhood of singing that first song in that church that you grew up in?”
“Every Sunday, that was my stage,” she said. “I loved opening the hymnals, and I’d try to sing real loud because I liked to!”
“Just as I Am” was the song played at the end of services: “We heard it every single Sunday. The other ones would change from Sunday to Sunday, but that was the one that was always there.”
“What is it you want the world to hear in your voice?” Miller asked.
“Oh, I feel like the entire time that we were making the album, I felt like I was praying the whole time.”
Underwood said, “It was all just so hopeful and inspirational and joyful in such a time when there’s so much fear and having no idea what was around the corner, or what the next month or week would bring. Getting to work on this music was peaceful for me.”
“It sounds like you’ve been through some reflection,” Miller asked.
“Well, it’s hard not to. Everybody was at home and not dealing with all the distractions and craziness of everyday life. We were at home. There was just a lot of heaviness of the past year. But there were also a lot of silver linings, and I got to sit in one place and watch my boys grow up.”
A whole year with her boys, Isaiah and Jacob, and her husband, former pro hockey player Mike Fisher, that she appreciates … most of the time.
“Just getting to wake up every morning and see them, and put them to bed every night, my husband was like, ‘How many dinners have we sat at this table?’ And I’m like, ‘Well, there’s 52 weeks in a year, seven days a week.’ I was like, ‘You can do the math!” she laughed.
“And nobody’s getting on anybody’s nerves? Or a little of that, too?”
“Well, my husband did say, ‘You know what? I like you.’ And I was like, ‘I like you, too, you know?’ Like, it’s kinda weird. He’s like, ‘No, you know you love someone, but it’s like, when you are off doing your own thing, and then, you know, you come have dinner together, you don’t really have to, like, deal with each other that much.’ He’s like, ‘We’ve been together, and some couples kinda get stronger, and you see some go the other way. And so, like, we were really good at being together all day, every day.'”
“Your hubby gave you a solid,” laughed Miller.
“Yeah, that was really nice, yeah!”
One of songs she recorded this year is “Softly and Tenderly,” which she memorably performed at the Country Music Awards following the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017:
Come home, come home
Ye who are weary come home
Earnestly, tenderly Jesus is calling
Calling, “O sinner come home”
“And here we are again. It’s almost like you knew that, somewhere, that we would need this,” said Miller.
“That song at that time did, I feel like, provide a lot of us just a moment to cry together and be there for each other and just feel, and heal,” Underwood said.
And she pairs up with bestselling gospel singer CeCe Winans to sing a beloved hymnal standard, “Great Is the Faithfulness,” a song Winans had often sung with her mother, Delores Winans, a gospel legend in her own right.
Winans told Miller, “My mother said, ‘Wait a minute: She’s doing that duet that she did with me with somebody else?’ The beauty – and when I sang it with her – was the faithfulness of God from her generation to my generation. And I think the same power is going to show from my generation to Carrie’s generation.”
Underwood said, “I mean, I feel like she mops the floor with me, to be honest! But it was like, I’m gonna sing with her? It’s both exhilarating and exciting, and terrifying.”
“It all just worked out,” Winans said. “God’s timing is just amazing.”
Miller said, “I was having a conversation with a friend of mine – he’s White and a Baptist, I’m Black and a Baptist – we’re listening to your music, and he said, ‘These are standards in my church. I’m wondering, are they standards in …’ I was like, ‘Boy, yes, we just sing ’em differently. It’s a style thing.’ And he said, ‘Wow … This is a bridge.’
“Did you think of that? Breaking down the barriers that sometimes are in-between?”
“I mean, I feel like I don’t try to overthink anything,” Underwood laughed. “When the stars align and something feels right, you just go for it, you just do it.”
Winans said, “It’s a bridge in generations, it’s a bridge with culture. Things that we have allowed to separate us, I think this song is bringing us together.”
Now that that little country girl is all grown up, she hears much more in those simple gospel hymns.
“All the times we sang that song, I never thought much of it, ’cause it was always there,” Underwood said. “And now, as an adult, Just as I am: He loves me just as I am. All my flaws, all my insecurities, all my mistakes: He loves me, and that is such a huge, huge realization as an adult.
“I feel like there’s not one single time in recording it or doing anything with these songs that, after I’m done, I haven’t felt like crying happy tears,” she said. “They are happy tears. It’s a beautiful thing when you know that you are loved unconditionally, just as you are.”