Reba McEntire‘s new single, “Back to God,” takes the legendary singer in a new direction musically, while also honoring her longstanding faith.
As her debut Christian single, McEntire let’s the lyrics do the talking, creating vivid imagery with words like Have you heard the sound of Mama’s crying / Do you turn away when you see the face of the innocent dying / In these darkest days are you not afraid that it’s too late. Her crisp voice carries the emotion of the words, coming in strong on the chorus, showing off her impressive vocals.
Melodically, the new track off her upcoming album Sing It Now is closer to the contemporary country sound than her more traditional country style, much like her previous single “Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That.” But her first release in the Christian music world proves that she has the power to sing a compelling track that still fits into modern day sound, all while bringing about hope in the process.
Did you know?: “Back to God” was co-written by Randy Houser and Dallas Davidson. Houser included the track on his debut album, Anything Goes.
Credit: Taste of Country
For more than 70 years, Mrs. Jacqueline Smith McEntire has been an advocate for education and community service.
That dedication and lifetime of achievement was formally recognized Thursday as Southeastern Oklahoma State University conferred an Honorary Bachelor Degree in Public Education and Community Service to Mrs. McEntire.
Numerous family members – including children Pake McEntire, Susie McEntire-Eaton, Reba McEntire, and Alice Foran – joined friends and University students and faculty in a special ceremony in the Fine Arts Recital Hall.
Offering remarks on behalf of Higher Education at the event were Chancellor Glen D. Johnson, Oklahoma State Regents of Higher Education Chair John Massey, Regional University System of Oklahoma Regent Chair Lake Carpenter, and Southeasternpresident Sean Burrage.
Mrs.McEntire, who will celebrate her 90th birthday next month, also offered remarks.
Mrs. McEntire served five school districts in southeastern Oklahoma for almost 20 years as a teacher, secretary and librarian. She graduated from high school at the age of 16 and became a certified teacher through the Oklahoma State Department of Education at age 18. Mrs. McEntire began teaching grades 1-8 at Tipperary School in 1943 and later taught high school business for one year.
During this time, Mrs. McEntire spent many summers attending Southeastern State College, earning 95 credit hours towards her degree in education. However, the pursuit of her degree was put on hold when she married Clark McEntire and they started a family.
“I would listen to Mama tell stories about catching the Greyhound from Limestone Gap to Durant to attend summer school at Southeastern and then teach students in the fall,” Susie McEntire-Eaton said. “That’s wanting to be a people changer. I began searching for a way to honor her hard work and dedication to the field of education. She’s a woman of many talents, gifts, strengths and endearing treasures. And by treasures, I’m speaking purely in human terms.”
In 1962, Mrs. McEntire returned to public education and served as librarian and secretary of Kiowa Schools until 1973 when her middle daughter, Reba, graduated from Kiowa High School and started college at Southeastern. Two of Mrs. McEntire’s daughters earned degrees at Southeastern: Reba earned a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education-Fine Arts at Southeastern in 1976, and Alice earned a Bachelor’s in Education (Home Economics-Social Studies) in 1973.
In addition, Mrs. McEntire’s mother-in-law Alice Hayhurst and niece Rickie Thompson are graduates of Southeastern.
“It is an honor for Southeastern to be involved in recognizing Mrs. McEntire for her lifelong devotion to education,” President Burrage said. “It is especially appropriate when you remember that Southeastern was founded to educate teachers and that legacy continues today. Throughout her life, Mrs. McEntire has emphasized the importance of education. She is a true inspiration for all of us at Southeastern.”
Public Appearances from 2016: Jacqueline McEntire receives Honorary Bachelor Degree
Reba McEntire is an Oklahoma native, with strong Texoma ties, but despite her many successes, she has never forgotten her roots.
The Texoma Health Foundation celebrated the 25th anniversary of Reba’s Ranch House in Denison Friday, but to everyone’s surprise, in walks Reba.
Reba had family members treated at Texoma Medical Center, and that’s when she saw first-hand that patient’s loved ones often needed a place to stay, for free.
“And so that’s where it started, and I said ‘Sure I’ll help, I’ll bring everybody I know to come down and have some fun and sing some songs,’ ” Reba said.
That was the late 1980s. She started having benefit concerts, and by 1992, they opened their first “Reba’s Ranch House,” and they’ve since replaced it with an updated version.
“Through the course of that time, 30,000 families going through their hard times, their darkest times, have been able to come here and find hope and comfort,” Texoma Health Foundation Chair Brett Graham said.
And to celebrate the 25th anniversary, the foundation presented Reba Friday morning with a surprise of their own, to help tell Reba’s story to ranch house guests.
“So we took a lot of the memorabilia from Reba’s concerts that helped raise the money and we put them on a wall and it says ‘The House that Reba Built,’ and I encourage the public to come out and see it,” Graham said.
Reba said she didn’t want the celebration to be about her, instead she personally thanked first responders, including Sherman and Denison fire and police, as well as the sheriff’s office and DPS, with a signed plaque.
“She’s been very important to the community and has brought a lot to this area and her intentions were to recognize us, but its really to recognize her,” Sherman Police Assistant Chief Stephen Dean said.
Reba went around and greeted each ranch house volunteer, both past and present, there as guests. She said it’s because of them that this has all been possible.
“I’m thankful for this day, for the past 25 years, it’s been a huge blessing to me and my family, my friends, and thanks for letting me be a part of it.”