Give LeAnn Rimes a pumpkin candle and she's happy.
She decided to light one in the Chicago home she shares with her husband, actor Eddie Cibrian, even though it was 90 degrees outside. Rimes, 29, called in from the Windy City on a recent Thursday. The couple is planning to move back to Los Angeles. Right now, they're splitting time between the cities, or rather, Rimes is staying at one of her houses between tour dates.
"I have three of (each) of the basic toiletries," she said. "I throw some clothes in a bag and I'm good to go."
This month, Rimes is promoting her Sept. 27 release - a collection of country tunes originally crooned by men titled "Lady and Gentlemen." She'll stop by the Pullo Family Performing Arts Center on Saturday, Oct. 22.
Monday, Oct. 24, she's stopping by "Live! With Regis and Kelly." She stars in a CMT original movie "Reel Love," which airs next month.
She refers to her travel time as "downtime." It gives her the opportunity to check in with fans on Twitter.
"I love to be able to have the one-on-one with them," she said.
Multitasking works for Rimes. It helps generate a constant flow of creative ideas.
"I think I'm always in the process," she said. "Music is my life. It's writing, producing and touring and thinking about the next project."
The concept for "Lady and Gentlemen" came out of a conversation with a friend.
Rimes' father brought her up on female country artists. At 13, she burst onto the national scene with a cover of Patsy Cline's ballad "Blue." Rimes became the youngest recipient of a Grammy Award for her rendition of the song.
But Rimes said she also loved songs by Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and George Jones. She wanted to revisit those tunes.
She wasn't sure who would produce the record, so she pitched the idea to fellow country artist Vince Gill.
"He thought I was kidding," she said. "I was not."
Gill and Rimes went into the studio and recorded the 11 tracks in two-and-a-half days. She also updated her breakout song "Blue" and added two bonus tracks - "Crazy Women" and "Give."
"It was a super-fun project," she said. "Nothing was forced."
The challenge was to keep it from being a karaoke record and make it her own without alienating people who loved the classics.
The same is true with her live show. Rimes said audiences can expect to hear the hits, but maybe in a new way.
She is also testing songs she might add to her next album. Yes, she's already working on that, too.
But "Lady and Gentlemen" is making her re-evaluate what she's recording.
"I'm excited because I think this has started a new path for me in my career," she said. "When I was young, I had crossover appeal, which I'm thankful for," she said. "People were confused. They wanted me to pick (a genre). I've never been one to box myself in. I've been given a gift . . . to sing the songs I love."
She wants to bring back the old style of country music and tell the stories of those songs to a new generation. Some of the pieces she's working on try to capture that classic sound.
Rimes said that she would love to do a duets album sometime in the future. Her eclectic artist list includes Adele, David Gray, Ray LaMontagne, Tori Amos and Chris Cornell.
But once her schedule starts to slow down later this month, she might add more pumpkin spice as she decorates her Los Angeles house.
"That's another whole creative part that I love," she said. She's ready to make a home for Cibrian and his two small children.
And speaking of creation, does Rimes want to have a baby?
"Eventually, maybe," she said with a laugh. "(I'm) too busy right now."
- Erin McCracken, FlipSide staff
LeAnn Rimes collects fan stories
Rimes is gathering inspirations from fans in conjunction with her new single "Give." Fans can share their experiences of giving or ways in which others have given to them - large or small. For details and to share your story, visit www.leannrimesworld.com/give.
About 'Reel Love'
CMT's second original movie stars LeAnn Rimes and Burt Reynolds. When Holly (Rimes) finds out her father Wade (Reynolds) had a heart attack, she returns to her small Southern town to help him. But all her dad wants to do is fish. While trying to get him to cooperate, she reconnects with her old friends and meets the new guy in town, Jay (Shawn Roberts). For details and air dates, visit www.cmt.com.
If you go
LeAnn Rimes will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Pullo Family Performing Arts Center, 1031 Edgecomb Ave., Spring Garden Township. Tickets cost $47. For details and tickets, call 505-8900 or visit thepullocenter.com.
LeAnn Rimes: www.leannrimesworld.com
Read more celebrity interviews: www.yorkblog.com/flipside/celebrity-interviews