Shania Twain added an acoustic break in the middle of the shows she is doing on her "Rock This Country" tour, even though she wasn't sure about it.
"I was afraid to slow the show down," says Twain, calling from a tour stop in Ontario, Canada. "But I'm really glad I did. It's good to have that dynamic -- the rest of the show is so full-on."
In a way, Twain is ready for a similar change of pace in her life, as well as her career. The "Rock This Country" tour, which stops at Madison Square Garden Tuesday and Nassau Coliseum Wednesday, is Twain's first since 2004. She also says it will be her final one.
"I'm really enjoying myself," says Twain, who will turn 50 in August. "I know that this is coming to an end and I'm not anxious about it. I'm going to enjoy it."
Twain says she is eager to work on new music. She hopes to release her first album of new material since 2002's "Up!" later this year, with some help from Seaford singer-songwriter-producer Matthew Koma. "I miss making records," she says. "I'm dying to do it."
She is also eager to present her impressive catalog of hits -- from the traditional country of "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?" and "Any Man of Mine" to the pure pop of "You're Still the One"" and "From This Moment On" -- in a new way for her fans.
"It's been a lot of years since I wrote those songs -- life has changed dramatically," she says, alluding to her very public divorce from husband/musical collaborator Robert "Mutt" Lange and a health scare that threatened the complete loss of her voice. "Why I wrote some of those songs has changed. They affect me when in a different way when I'm singing them now for sure. Seeing how the audience reacts affects me as well. . . . I sing them as myself at that moment."
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That said, Twain is definitely out to have fun on the tour. "I enjoy giving people the hits," she says. "We're doing them more rock-edged and adding the live spirit of the 'Rock This Country' theme. It's high-energy and it feels good."
Twain says she has been surprised at how excited fans have been about the shows. "During the planning process, it's all on paper and you don't know what is going to happen," she says. "But the reaction has been so much more than I expected."
Twain says her goals now have become very simple. No more concerns about hits and sales and all that.
"I just want to keep focusing on where I'm at," she says. "I'm going to focus on doing my best and hopefully that will make a difference in people's lives. I hope it does."
WHO Shania Twain
WHEN | WHERE 7:30 p.m. Tuesday Madison Square Garden, Manhattan; and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nassau Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Tpke., Uniondale
INFO $49-$151; 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com
Matthew Koma is a surprise collaborator for Shania Twain
Shania Twain surprised many by proclaiming her love of Matthew Koma's music on Twitter -- including the Seaford singer-songwriter himself. Their mutual admiration turned into a collaboration and Koma is now working with Twain on music for her upcoming album.
"We met by total fluke," she says. "But I'm so glad that we did. We gel very well together."
Twain even took to telling people last year how her favorite song of the moment was Koma's song "Suitcase."
"I'm such a fan of his work," she said, "He's so great as a songwriter and as an artist. He has this whole musicality that really works."