Carrie Underwood admits that when she started working on her new record after giving birth to son Isaiah almost eight months ago, the direction she would take wasn’t immediately apparent. But once she found the song “Choctaw County Affair,” the album started taking shape.
“There was just something so, like it was simple but it was like swampy and twangy and it was a story and there was just something laid back and cool about it. That was kind of the door opener,” she recalls. “So it was like, this is our direction, here we go!”
Another important ingredient in the making of Storyteller was producer Jay Joyce, known for his work with Eric Church, Little Big Town and Emmylou Harris, among others. Carrie believes recording with him helped her grow, because his approach is very different than hers.
“[Working with him is] a little more unpredictable, and I am honestly in life not good with unpredictability. I like schedules, I like rules, I like knowing what’s gonna happen…” she confesses. “So it was really something I needed to do, I think, working with him. And he’s just so creative, just does things in such a different way that I needed that to just get out of my routine.”
In the end, Carrie is confident you’ll hear her progress in the finished record.
“As a whole, I feel like it ended up being just a little more traditional, I guess. And a little more laid back,” she muses, “but it still had a little bit of a rock edge sometimes and a little bit of an R&B edge sometimes, and it all works together.”
Ultimately, Carrie says “Choctaw County Affair” even influenced the album’s cover.
“As far as the look, it’s kinda like the look came after the sounds came. Then it was like, okay, what does this feel like? What visually matches? And that’s kind of the way we went. Like kind of Westerny,” she guesses. “It’s hard to describe but I ended up, I’m just really happy with how it all turned out. Like I feel like it all worked.”
Storyteller is new in stores and online today, with a special Target edition available with two bonus songs. It contains the top ten hit “Smoke Break.”
Look for Carrie to make a multitude of media appearances to promote her fifth studio album, leading up to her co-hosting duties with Brad Paisley November 4 on the 49th Annual CMA Awards on ABC.
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