Reba McEntire Gets Back To Basics In Her New Book

Not That Fancy: Simple Lessons on Living, Loving, Eating, and Dusting Off Your Boots

Reba McEntire's impact on country music is nothing short of legendary. Bursting onto the scene in the late 70s, McEntire captured the hearts of fans with her distinctive twang, singing real life lyrics that resonated with listeners. With a career that includes an extraordinary string of number one hits, 56 million albums sold worldwide, Grammy, CMA and ACM awards, and countless accolades, McEntire solidified herself as a true country music luminary.

But her star power didn't stop there. Beyond her vocal prowess, McEntire's versatility shone as she ventured into acting, most notably starring in her own successful sitcom "Reba" from 2001 to 2007, showcasing her comedic talents. Guest starring roles, including more recently ABC-TV's "Big Sky," television movies and Broadway roles, McEntire left an indelible mark in the acting world as well. She can also be seen on the upcoming season of "The Voice." 

And it doesn't end there. Besides actress and singer, author is in the famous red-head's repertoire. She's set to release a new book this month, Not That Fancy: Simple Lessons on Living, Loving, Eating, and Dusting Off Your Boots, a collection of funny, poignant, and deeply personal stories, photos, lifestyle tips, and recipes. Specifically, Not that Fancy includes over 50 recipes from Reba's family traditions and her Atoka, Oklahoma restaurant, Reba’s Place, never-before-seen photographs and never-before-told stories from Reba’s personal and professional life, and simple, not-that-fancy lifestyle tips.
Reba will also release an accompanying album with the same title, Not That Fancy, a collection of stripped-down versions of some of her most iconic songs. The 14-track collection features a brand new single “Seven Minutes In Heaven.” 

City Lifestyle had the opportunity to talk to Reba about all of the fun things happening for her in her enduringly enjoyable career. 

Why did you want to write this book and what inspired you? 

Well, we were just looking for things to do and we thought it would be a great idea to do a coffee table book and then it turned into a coffee table cookbook with lots of great pictures and stories and tips on how to throw an impromptu dinner party. Even Rex coming in with his ten best favorite horror movies to watch. It’s an eclectic group of pictures, stories, advice, ways to do things. I love it! My attention span is like a two-year-old so I read it three times to proofread it, and I was totally entertained. If it held my attention, then I hope everyone else can be entertained by it also.

How did you decide exactly what you wanted to share?

It was really a group project. People would ask me questions - I was interviewed by a young lady - it would prompt me to answer them in a story form. What I really wanted is for the recipes to have great pictures. I do not like a cookbook without pictures. I want to see what it’s supposed to look like. I really enjoyed doing it. It was a huge undertaking with a lot of wonderful people involved who had a lot of great ideas that made it happen.

How does the creative process differ when writing a song versus writing a book?

You have less people working on it, for one thing! And a song is contained in one area and this book is all over the place and different avenues of entertainment.

Why did Garth write the foreword?

He's the busiest person on the planet, so I was like, 'Yes, Garth!" He and I go way back. We’re both from Oklahoma. We toured together in 90 and 91. He’s a very special person and I couldn’t have been more pleased when he said he’d write the foreword.

And how did you come up with the title? Would you consider "Fancy" your biggest hit? 

I would say “Fancy” is my most recognizable song. Everything we do is bells and whistles, smoke and mirrors, big productions and changing outfits. The bigger the better. But this is just about topics not that fancy. Like a dinner party. Or wearing something out to dinner. My philosophy is you be comfortable, you have fun and if you’re uptight and wearing something that's not comfortable, then you won’t have as much fun. All the topics are simply not that fancy. Just everyday living. Even if the silverware, glasses and plates don’t match, bring out the solo cups. Have fun. Don’t not have a dinner party because you don’t have the right dishes.

You've done it all. Author, singer, actress. Do you have a favorite creative outlet? Or do you love it all?

I do love it all, and I’m very blessed to get to do it all. When I finished my tour in 2022, I got to do television. Last year I was doing "Big Sky" and touring at the same time. Which was not a good idea, but I did it and it keeps everything interesting. I don’t get tired or bored of one thing. I do it, we finish that and I go do something else. Like "The Hammer" movie for Lifetime. We finished that and then we went on and did the tour for a while. It keeps things fresh for me. I really enjoy it and I’m so grateful I get to do it like that.

What do you do to relax and unwind? Do you take time in between all these things you have going on?

If time allows and the calendar is open, I like to vacation, hang out at the house, sit on the back porch. I like to be home and hang out with my friends, family. I’m just like everybody else. Throw a dinner party and have everybody over, eat and play games.

In your storied career, is there anything you haven't done that you'd still like to do?

Career-wise, no. Travel-wise, I have not gone to Japan. Niall {Horan} was telling me when we were doing "The Voice" that it's his favorite place on earth.

What's next after this book?

I am one of the coaches on "The Voice." That will wrap in May 2024. Then probably go back out on tour in 2025. Just continuing to do what we love to do.

How did you choose the songs for the album that accompanies the book?

We asked the fans what they wanted us to re-record. Then we added a new song, “Seven Minutes In Heaven.”  We wouldn’t be where we are today without the fans. I'm so appreciative of my fans. They're the best. They've been with me through thick and thin and every genre of entertainment you can think of!

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