Hallmark to exclusively sell McEntire CD


NASHVILLE -- Reba McEntire's new "Love Revival" will be sold exclusively at Hallmark Gold Crown stores in January and February, making her the latest in a string of top artists to release holiday-related albums through the retailer, Billboard has learned.

Josh Groban, Michael Buble and Martina McBride have put out Valentine's Day sets, while George Strait, Michael McDonald and James Taylor have done Christmas releases. Barry Manilow's "In the Swing of Christmas" is currently available at the independently owned stores.

And while McEntire agreed to participate, there was a hitch. "I said, 'I'd love to,'" she recalls, "but the problem is, I didn't have that many love songs that I've recorded during my 31-year career, believe it or not." Cliff Williamson, who works for McEntire, went through her back catalog and found what they were looking for.

The set includes McEntire's 1993 duet with Vince Gill, "The Heart Won't Lie," which spent two weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. The title cut is an amped-up gospel-style piano thumper that first appeared on her 2003 set "Room to Breathe." "Somebody," a 2004 No. 1, is also included.

In addition, the album contains four songs recorded exclusively for Hallmark, among them a version of Restless Heart's 1987 No. 1 single "I'll Still Be Loving You" and three songs -- "Bad for My Own Good," "With You I Am" and "Big Blue Sky" -- that McEntire had considered, but never wound up using, for previous projects.