Martina McBride is constantly asked how she balances her career with being a mom of three. It's a juggling act she has perfected, and one for which she feels eternally grateful. The Boot had the opportunity to see firsthand how the songstress pull it all off, as we were invited to join her in Austin, Texas, before her show at the state-of-the-art Moody Theater at Austin City Limits Live.

After touring the country with George Strait earlier this year, Martina decided to scale things back for a more intimate summer trek. "There are some really amazing theaters across this country, with some amazing heritage and history," the hitmaker explains to The Boot. "Theaters are built for music and plays and production, and arenas are built for basketball or hockey, so there's a difference right off the bat from an acoustic standpoint. And then there's the seating, there are no bad seats in a theater; you can see everything. It's designed for a show, and that makes a huge difference in the kind of show we can put on."

Another upside to the venue change has been the ability to return to cities she hasn't played in years, such as the Texas capital. For the most part, Martina's schedule during a tour is of the "go, go, go!" mentality, but locale is important to the Kansas native. She makes an effort to take in as much of the sights and sounds each city has to offer, whether that be shopping -- she's a big fan of accessories -- or just finding places to hide tickets for a clever fan to find.

Today, it's the latter. Martina's day in Austin starts around 2:00 PM -- after traveling by bus from Nashville -- as the "Marry Me" singer and her tour manager find the best landmark for hiding two tickets to her Austin City Limits show. The pair settle on the Lamar Street Bridge, which connects downtown Austin to the south side of the city, over Lady Bird Lake. To begin the scavenger hunt, Martina takes to Twitter to leave her first clue, a reference to basketball player Lamar Odom, followed later by a second that is a nod to Lady Bird Lake, which was recently renamed for the famous Texan and wife of the late President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Watch Our 'Day in the Life of Martina McBride' Video

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After her secret mission, Martina heads back to Austin City Limits Live for soundcheck with her band. The Austin stop, which takes place a few days after Mother's Day, offers listeners to local radio station KASE 101 the opportunity to meet the country superstar and preview the night's show. As the 20 or so fans sit in the audience, Martina and band crank out her hits with such ease that they make it appear effortless, testing the venue out for sound while delighting the lucky fans in on the behind-the-scenes action.

Next, it's into downtown Austin's W Hotel for appetizers and a meet-and-greet with Martina. Called a "mother-daughter" event, the room is mixed, with several fathers escorting their girls, too. Gender aside, they're all excited to meet the singer -- some a little more so than others, as we spotted a few happy tears.

"That has happened occasionally, which amazes me when you think someone is so excited to meet their favorite artist," a humbled Martina explains. "It's beautiful. It's such a gift, and it's why we do what we do, to make that connection."

The fan meetings wrap at 5:00 PM, giving Martina roughly two hours to have some dinner and get ready for the evening's performance. It's also time for her to check in on things at home. Her youngest daughter, Ava (6), is back in Music City battling a fever, something Mom has tried to keep track of during the day, but has had a difficult time getting cell phone reception in the bowels of the concert venue.

By 7:15 PM, the svelte singer is looking radiant in her performance attire of slim black pants and a sparkly silver top. She's primped -- big surprise here, Martina actually does her own hair and makeup for every show -- and ready to greet another batch of fans who are waiting outside her backstage dressing room.

"We have a giveaway through our fan club," says the entertainer. "I have a drawing for every show where a fan club member gets to come back for a meet-and-greet. I have a really amazing fan club, it's contemporary but it's a little bit old school. There's a lot of connection. I have a fan club president who really responds to people."

While their time with Martina may be brief, these mega-fans are happy to meet the powerhouse vocalist, take a picture and get a personalized autograph. A few of them even have a little something for Martina in return.

"I receive a lot of really nice things," she admits. "I love to get books, because I love to read. Wine is always nice. [laughs] I get jewelry and handmade stuff. It's always nice to be thought of. I keep some of them, of course I can't keep everything. Some of them I donate to women's shelters. I try to find a place for everything. I definitely appreciate all those gifts so much."

At 8:00 PM, the seats are filled and the fans are ready. Without any sort of grand introduction, the singer bursts on to the stage with "One Night," a tune she co-wrote specifically to open her shows. The song is the only one on this tour that stays that same each night. Unlike her more recent treks, Martina is taking great pleasure in changing the set-lists from one city to the next.

"Every show is a little bit different," she explains. "Of course, we have things that we always play, like "Independence Day" and "This One's for the Girls," but what's fun about this show is we can put in album cuts or fan requests -- if someone yells out a request, we try to do it. I usually take to Twitter at some point in the day to say, 'Hey, we're in Austin ... Anyone coming to the show tonight have a song you want to hear?' and get some fun ideas that way."

Rick Kern, WireImage
Rick Kern, WireImage

Asking fans to help design her set-lists gives the music industry veteran an opportunity to play songs live that she may never have, or ones that she hasn't performed in quite a while.

"We get a lot of requests for a song called 'She's a Butterfly,' which was on my album that was just called Martina, and I've always loved that song," she says. "We've always loved it as a band, too. We played it for a bit, and then took it out of our set, but we continued to play it during soundcheck for our own pleasure. It's fun to see that it's truly a fan favorite, as well. We have it in our set almost every night."

The songs, and their order, are pretty much the last thing to be finalized. In that two hour period before taking the stage, Martina makes the list, which -- as with tonight's show -- is more of a guide than an steadfast schedule. One notable deviation comes in the first half of the show, when a young girl grabs the singer's attention.

"I see your Eleven," Martina says to the fan, noting the sign the girl is holding that references the songstress' last record. "You're so cute." Next comes shouts from another fan, who is celebrating a birthday, leading to what could arguably be the best present ever: Martina sinks to her knees and serenades her face-to-face with "Happy Birthday."

As the evening progresses, it's obvious that those in the audience aren't there for a big production, they're there for Martina. The stage setup isn't flashy, and it doesn't need to be. Everything about the night is geared to get admirers of the songbird as close to her as possible, giving them the interaction they crave.

"What I wanted to do with this tour was simplify everything," says the savy business woman. "I wanted to do a throwback to if you came and saw a show 20 years ago. It's still very current and we have a beautiful lighting show, but its simpler than what we have in the arena. It's more about the music. It's about me, the band and the audience, and connecting on a musical, personal level. When you get in an arena, you feel like you have to have something major for the audiences to see and experience. It's really about sharing some time together and making a memory."

In fact, the only audio-visual component to this evening, which feels more like hanging out in Martina's living room than in a theater, comes during her current single, "Marry Me." The song is a cover of the Train hit, and features the band's lead singer Pat Monahan, but thanks to their own laborious tour schedule, Martina has to get creative with her live performance.

"'Marry Me' is interesting as far as duets goes, because unlike most, Pat and I don't actually sing together until the very end," she says. "It's about two people trying to get the nerve to talk to each other, so I thought it would be cooler if I say my part, then he says his part and then we have this bridge together. We don't sing together, though, until the very end, which in my mind is the two people coming together. So on tour, I sing the whole song through the bridge and then at the end, where we sing together on the record, we filmed a little clip with he and I singing together. The whole stage goes dark and we come up on the video screen and sing the song together."

The happily married songbird, whose husband John can be seen at the soundboard during the entire show, isn't immune to the affects singing a love song like this has on a woman. She admits that each time she belts it out, her thoughts drift to weddings, and while hers took place 24 years ago, she's not against a do-over.

"We've talked about renewing our vows," Martina reveals. "We have our 25th wedding anniversary next May, so I've always thought that would be the perfect time to do it. I'm thinking about starting to plan that pretty soon."

The joyous mood of the room comes to an abrupt halt, as Martina stops to chat with another fan who tells the crowd the story of her own fight with breast cancer. The moving moment leaves the audience with a sense of hope as she declares she's now cancer free, and credits Martina's music with helping her through. In her honor, Martina moves her last single up in the set-list and aptly belts out her poignant song about helping a loved one through cancer treatments, "I'm Gonna Love You Through It."

"I encourage them to talk to me when I'm on stage," Martina affirms. "It's fun. It's spontaneous. I love not really ever knowing what's going to happen. What you're doing is creating a memory that's unique and those of us in the room are really the only ones who are going to get to share this memory."

And she's right. Even as you read this, there is no way to completely convey the experience of being at a performance on this special tour. Yes, Martina performed expected hits such as "A Broken Wing" and "Teenage Daughters, as well as unexpected covers including Cat Stevens' "The First Cut Is the Deepest," Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'" and Roger Miller's "King of the Road." And it was sometime after 10:30 PM when she came out for her second encore, "Closing Time," an album cut from Eleven. But unless you are in the room, there's no way to absorb the intimacy of Martina's theater tour.

See Photos of Martina & More of Country's Musical Moms


Watch Martina's 'I'm Gonna Love You Through It' Video