Martina McBride has announced a string of headlining tour dates for 2020, and she's helping spotlight several of country music's most up-and-coming female artists.

McBride's Livin' Life Up Tour will feature Hannah Ellis, Hailey Whitters, Sarah Allison Turner and Kalie Shorr in a rotating roster of opening acts. The very title of the tour is aspirational, in keeping with the themes of so many of McBride's songs.

"I feel like it's so important to live life up, meaning, spread some joy and some positivity, pay it forward," McBride tells Taste of Country in an interview. "I just want everybody to put their cares and stress outside the door, leave them outside when they come into the show and just have an evening full of connection with each other through music, and just forget about their troubles for a little while."

McBride's charitable Team Music Is Love organization is also undertaking a series of food drives on select stops of the tour, "so that's also a way to give back," she says. "Really, it's just about living your life up, positive."

McBride's idea to feature "undiscovered" female artists on the tour is another way she's paying it forward.

"I got great opening act shots when I was up-and-coming," she notes, adding that when she was a young newcomer, she had strong female role models including Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton in country music to look up to.

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"There's all these young women who are listening to country radio and aren't being exposed to that," she states.

McBride has heard more than once that she herself served as a role model for some of today's rising country singers while working on her podcast, Vocal Point With Martina McBride.

"I interviewed Runaway June for my podcast, and Carly Pearce, and heard that same thing. That 'back in the day,'" McBride says, pausing to laugh, "we had me, Shania [Twain], Faith, Reba, Jo Dee Messina, Lee Ann Womack ... the list goes on and on, and we were getting lots of radio airplay, so there was a strong female perspective on the radio. Those younger artists were listening to that, so they had that strength and that perspective. They could say, 'Somebody feels like I do.' And they also say, 'We could see ourselves in country music, like there was a spot for us in this business.'"

McBride's own musical legacy is so extensive that she admits it's challenging to put together a setlist for a new tour.

"Obviously, there's a handful of songs that I will always do," she states. "But then, I've done a few albums that are I guess outside of the commercial part of my career, so we'll do a couple of songs off Timeless. I'd love to do a couple of songs off the Everlasting album. And I like to go back and do some deep cuts, because I've always felt like I've got to go out there and play the hits, but there are people there that want to hear something other than the songs they've heard on the radio. So I'm gonna pull out a couple of album cuts and play for those fans for part of the show. And we'll do a couple of songs off Reckless, my latest album, as well."

McBride also has some new music coming, though she isn't able to offer much in the way of details currently.

"We're working on something that's kind of tied into a television show," she teases. "So I can't really talk about it, but it will be coming out in I think April or May, which I'm very excited about."

McBride's Livin' Life Up Tour is slated to commence on March 12 in Lancaster, Pa., and run for 15 dates before wrapping wrapping up on May 2 in Orillia, Ontario, Canada. For more information about dates and venues, visit her official tour calendar online.

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