It’s not always easy to find a good producer these days, one who will understand the message you’re trying to send or one who knows what you want out of a song. But Reba McEntire found a good one in Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus, who produced a handful of songs on her new gospel album, Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope, released on Feb. 3.
When the fiery redhead was in need of a producer to work on her gospel album, she asked her good friend Ronnie Dunn for advice. Ronnie had recently completed his own album, Tattooed Heart, which was produced by Jay.
“I’ve known Jay for forever, but Ronnie Dunn—Ronnie worked with Jay on Ronnie’s last project, Tattooed Heart,” Reba says to Nash Country Daily. I said to Ronnie, ‘How was [Jay] in the studio?’ He said, ‘Absolutely too much fun. He’s a genius. He’s great. He’s a great musician. Great arranger. He knows harmony inside and out. He’s a great musician and he knows pickers. He knows how to work with musicians.’ That’s a great combination. That’s a perfect combination for a great producer. If you can work with Ronnie Dunn, you can work with anybody [laughing].
“I asked Jay, ‘Which one of these songs do you want to produce?’ Then I took the rest [to] Doug Sisemore, my musical director and band leader, and we produced the rest of them.”
Jay—who has worn the producers hat with such artists as Ronnie Dunn, Alabama, Kix Brooks, and JoDee Messina—produced the songs “Oh, How I Love Jesus,” “Oh Happy Day,” “In The Garden/Wonderful Peace”(Medley), “Sing It Now,” “There Is A God,” “Angel On My Shoulder” and “Say A Prayer,’ from Reba’s 2-disc gospel album.
“‘Say a Prayer’ is the best song for the end of the album. Please say a prayer for me. I’ll say one for you. Let’s all keep that going. We all need it,” Reba says closing out her album’s liner notes.
The Oklahoma native is set to perform her first-ever headlining show at the Ryman Auditorium on Feb.15, which is sold out but you can catch her co-hosting on ABC’s The View Wednesday morning (Feb. 8). Reba’s “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope” is available on iTunes.