Terri Clark, who independently released her critically acclaimed album, 'The Long Way Home,' after famously choosing to step away from Sony/BMG, says the project's title is indicative of the journey on which she finds herself.

"I chose 'The Long Way Home' as the album title because it has a metaphorical meaning as well as the fact that I'm concentrating a little more on Canada with my airplay and touring," she tells The 9513. "It doesn't by any means that I'm abandoning the U.S., because I'm doing a lot of touring there as well. But I've been all the way around the world since I came to Nashville when I was eighteen. And I feel like I've sort of come full circle -- coming back to my community and that side."

Choosing to refocus her priorities after her mother's diagnosis with cancer, Terri says it was the wake-up call she needed to get back to making music that she wanted to make. "It also represents that journey within me -- a lot of the self realizations and things that have become non-negotiable within myself within the last couple of years," she explains.

Part of those realizations are what caused the Opry member to release this project on her own, without a record label behind her, even though she knew it was a costly decision. "I had to abandon some of my childhood expectations and dreams by going this route," she concedes. "More than likely, I'm not going to get any American radio airplay in any big way. There won't be mainstream radio airplay any more. You need that major label budget and push to really get that airplay, unless something really strange happens. Things like being nominated for things like CMA Awards are probably over. I've had to take some time and wrap my head around the realities of that. Those probably won't happen any more. But that's okay with me. When one door closes, another one opens."

Terri, who admits to being a big fan of traditional country, raised a few eyebrows when she stated on her website that, "People aren't getting anything from country music the way I think people should, the way I did." It was, she says, not exactly what she meant. "I shouldn't say anything. What I should have said is people aren't getting the same type of thing out all the artists that I listened to like the Judds, Reba, George Jones, [Merle] Haggard, classic country, Loretta [Lynn] and Patsy [Cline]. It was a real adult format with real adult issues. It was about tragedy. And it was about facing things like death and suicide and drinking. That is what country music meant to me -- more of a lifetsyle kind of music.

Partly for those reasons, Terri was careful to make this record exactly how she wanted it, and stay true to the sounds she feels best define her as an artist. "I didn't want it to sound like a big ole commercial record," she says. "I wanted it to sound sonically pleasant to listen to but different from what I've done in the past. I didn't want to stray too far from what I've done in the past, but wanted it different enough to sound different."

With 11 songs on the album, including ''You Tell Me,'a duet with Canadian sensation Johnny Reid, as well as guest vocals from Vince Gill on 'The One You Love,' Terri says this is just the beginning of a new chapter in her life, personally and professionally. "Its still a long journey and I'm still learning every single day working on myself," she acknowledges. "It's been an eye-opening last couple years. Home is really inside yourself. You just have to find your own way there. That's the best thing. And it's all reflective in my music as well."

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