For Terri Clark, the journey to her latest CD has been a difficult and unusual one -- to say the least. While recording an album for BNA Records in 2007, Terri learned that her mother Linda had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, which had invaded her pancreas and was at first thought to be inoperable.

While trying to stay focused on her recording career, Terri began to realize she needed to do things a little differently. So she took the unheard-of step of asking to be released from her recording contract in order to make an independent album that was, in her words, "more personal, more country, more raw."

In September, Terri will release 'The Long Way Home,' the self-produced result of that unique decision.

"When you see someone fighting as hard as my Mom was, it strikes you the things that matter," says Terri. "To her, life was everything. It was about personal integrity, her family, the things she loved about living ... and I realized I couldn't make my music for any less. My fans deserved that from me, especially after the stories they tell me about things my music's gotten them through over the years."

'The Long Way Home' was recorded in Nashville with several musicians Terri has routinely worked with throughout her career.

"I tried to think about what these songs called for," she says. "And once I got the players, I wanted them to be able to really create, really dig inside and feel what was going on. So many of them have recorded with me over the years, so I trusted they'd know where to go."

Next month, Terri will be among the acts appearing at the Country Thunder USA festival in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin.