Shania Twain dropped a bombshell this week saying she was going to wrap up her performing career with a three-month farewell jaunt in North America this summer – the so-called Rock This Country tour – including stops in nine Canadian cities.
But WHY, I asked the Timmins, Ont., country-pop superstar given she’s only 49 years old, and ‘60s-era rockers are still touring in their 70s?
“I’ve been doing this forever!” Twain replied. “And it’s hard for people to understand because I’ve only been in the public eye for a portion of my career, right? I was eight years old when I started getting up on stages. It’s a lot. So it’s not a lot for the public, but for me it’s been almost my whole life … I’m not retiring. I’m not going anywhere. I want to make records. And I want to write music and stay involved in music but the performer in me is just winding down.”
Twain also explained she initially felt her two-year Las Vegas residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace from 2012-2014 – essentially her comeback since being off the stage since 2004 – would be her last as a performer.
The Still the One show has been captured on a new CD/DVD of the same name released this week and includes a fun Backstage Pass special showing everything from Twain getting a mouth orthotic to correct a jaw issue that was affecting her singing to talking with 13-year-old son Eja (“He’s a good kid,” she says).
“When I took that on, I was thinking, ‘Well, this will be my last hurrah,’” Twain said of the Vegas gig. “I never shared it. Obviously I shared it a few times with (husband) Fred (Thiebaud). But I would never had made an announcement on it.”
But then she wrapped up her Sin City stint in mid-December 2014 and felt she wasn’t ready to say goodbye as a performer.
“It was a bit weird, getting closer to the end of that, I was feeling a lot of momentum, I was just feeling I wasn’t finished. … (I thought), ‘Maybe I should get out and do a tour and take myself and my show to the people and that will be my last hurrah.’ But psychologically I was going through the process a while ago … So I know it’s surprising for everybody to hear for the first time but I’ve been thinking about it for a long time.”
Twain describes her Rock This Country farewell jaunt, and her first tour on this continent in 11 years, as having “a celebration vibe.”
“The tour is going to be more rock ‘n’ roll and freestyle (and) I’m going to stick with the hits because I have a new album coming out once the tour is done.”
Twain is recording every day, but wouldn’t say which producers she’s working with – “I think it’ll be unexpected” – or exactly when it might be released, but her goal is next year when she turns 50.
“The sound’s going to be slightly different than what fans are used to hearing,” she said. “Maybe more soulful … things like Roy Orbison, Emmylou Harris … there’s something maybe retro about the style, more old soul-folk stuff, which is really more my roots, my childhood roots so maybe that’s what’s coming out that I never really got to do so far. It’ll be more organic than probably people are used to hearing from me. Yeah, there’s The Supremes stuff in there and The Beatles, those are the influences that keep coming up.”
She also says son Eja, the product of her first marriage to producer-songwriter Robert John “Mutt” Lange, is showing signs of following in his father’s footsteps.
“He doesn’t want to perform. He’s a writer, and produces, arranges, yeah he’s very, very into it, if I’m lucky, he’ll do one of my records.”
Twain also clarifies the door isn’t completely closed on a return to Sin City at some point.
“If I did go back to Vegas, I would do it with this (Rock This Country) show,” she said. “So it’s not that I wouldn’t maybe consider going back to Vegas after my time there but Still the One, I’m never doing that show again.”
Shania Twain’s Rock This Country 2015 Canadian dates:
June 7 and 9, Vancouver, Pepsi Live! At Rogers Arena
June 11-12, Edmonton, Rexall Place
June 14, Saskatoon, SaskTel Centre
June 15, Winnipeg, MTS Centre
June 19-20, London, Ont., Budweiser Gardens
June 22, Hamilton, Ont., FirstOntario Centre
Jun 24-25, Toronto, Air Canada Centre
June 27, Ottawa, Wesley Clover Parks
June 28, Montreal, Bell Centre