Carrie Underwood joined us for a special Acoustic Cafe Saturday afternoon at the Rocking Horse Saloon in downtown Hartford before her sold out show at the XL Center.
Instead of playing on a stage, Carrie wanted to keep things as intimate as possible, so she and her band moved down to the floor and played just inches from our 96.5 TIC listeners without ANY amplification… Just the instruments and Carrie’s amazing voice, like they were playing in our living room! Along with her fiddle player, guitarist, bassist and drummer, Carrie started things out with her smash “Before He Cheats.” She admitted she couldn’t remember singing without a microphone since American Idol! She also gave the audience a chance to sing along with one of her current favorite songs to play live– the title track to her new album “Blown Away.”
But Carrie didn’t just perform, she also took some time to answer some questions from her biggest fans in CT. Carrie addressed donating the proceeds of her Atlantic City show to Hurricane Sandy Relief first. “There’s always the question of whether or not you should go into an area and play a show, I would never want to be disrespectful and so much has happened,” she explained of the storm-ravaged city. “But then on the other hand, the building is still there and it would suck to be like, that would be the thing that someone is looking forward to. ‘Oh, on top of everything, now we can’t go see Hunter Hayes’! I was kind of like ‘well good compromise, let’s just go in and play a free show”
Carrie also shared some insight in how she chooses her rather eclectic collaborators, and said being open to try new things is the most important part of teaming up. “I’m really up for anything. I love the opportunity to do something unexpected, which is why the Aerosmith thing and working with Steven Tyler and doing the thing with Tony Bennett and people like that,” she said. “It kind of just has to happen. It has to be the right time and the right song and the right person and it just all has to work. So many people do so many duets albums now that I might be on another duet album coming up.” While the singer wouldn’t say who her new duet partner was, she did give this hint: “They were on the CMAs.”
Speaking of the CMAs, Carrie also shared her feelings on her 12(!) dress changes at this year’s show. She loved many of her dresses, but made it clear that getting to keep them after the show is often more hassle than it’s worth. “If there’s [a dress] I really love, I can probably call up the designer and say ‘Can I buy this from you?’ but they’re ridiculous. It’s like a car! I’m not exaggerating– I’ve checked on things before, because I’m like ‘I love this dress, I would love to have this dress!’ and I’ll call and it’s like $30,000! And I’m like, ‘No, no!, my car didn’t cost that much!”
The singer shared a few other bits– including her love of dark chocolate and that Brad Paisley’s new song is on the top of the iPod playlist– and also explained what makes a song her favorite to perform live. “I like things that people seem to get into. Right now ‘Blown Away’ is a lot of fun because people heard it on the radio recently and know it now,” she said. “People seem to sing along a lot to ‘Temporary Home’, which is really cool. It’s kind of one I wouldn’t really expect people to jump in on so much, but I think it’s really easy so by the end of the song people know the chorus even if they’ve never heard it before.” It’s not an exact science, either– a lot of what inspires Carrie is what’s going on with her audience that night. “Last night my favorite was ‘Do You Think About Me’ because I caught somebody proposing!” she recalled. “Everybody was looking at this one place and I was like ‘What famous person is in the audience tonight?’ because sometimes we’ll have sports players from local teams come to the show. I’m singing, trying to figure out what’s happening and I immediately, a switch was flipped, and I teared up.”