Calgary has the Wright stuff

ANIKA VAN WYK

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

The last time Chely Wright was in Calgary, she ended up being stuck here for a week.

Wright, who was a special guest on the Sept. 10 Canadian Country Music Award show, could not fly home on Sept. 11 because of the terrorist attacks.

"I've had so many people say, 'Wow, I bet you never want to go back to Calgary' but it is much to the contrary," says Wright, who returns to Calgary to play Cowboys on Tuesday.

"I haven't been back up to Calgary since Sept. 11 so I'm looking forward to coming back. I fell in love with your city during that experience.

"I guess everyone was looking for something beautiful at that time and something comfortable, and your city did that for me. Everyone was so nice and accommodating."

Wright and her staff were at the Calgary airport when they heard the news of the attacks. After getting their luggage back, they were able to check back into the same downtown hotel rooms they'd recently checked out of.

"We marvelled that we didn't see one person being unappropriately stressed out. Everyone was confused, but no one was acting inappropriately," she says.

"You can only watch one day of TV and that's enough. So I bet we walked every square inch of Calgary and shopped and met great people."

Wright says people on the street recognized she was American and would ask her if she was OK or if they could help her.

"It was really a beautiful experience."

If there is any free time on Wright's schedule when she is here, the Nashville singer who's hits include Shut Up and Drive, Single White Female and Never Love You Enough, wants to do some songwriting.

"I really want to get together with Jann Arden and write with her. I'm such a huge, huge fan of hers," says Wright.

While on her former record label, Wright was given a copy of Arden's Living Under June. When she finally got around to listening to it, she "freaked out."

"I bought three copies because I either wear them out or leave it on the bus and one of the band guys steal it or something. It's a hot commodity on my bus.

"It's one of the three or four things that I listen to before a show to get inspired."

Wright is hoping she and Arden can have the same creative magic that she just experienced with Clay Walker.

"The most creative thing happened the other night when we were in Colorado and Clay Walker was on the show as well. I popped up on his bus to say hi ... we got to talkin' about songs and we passed the guitar back and forth a couple of times and played some new stuff we'd written. We sat there and wrote a brand new song.

"It's moments like that which are the most exciting ... a song just pops out because you love music."

Another thing thrilling Wright these days are all the possibilities in front of her, now that she's left MCA.

"I know people will say, 'Oh, she was dropped' but I really wasn't. That's OK, my ego is the only thing that matters there," says the always personable Wright.

"I still don't feel I've hit my stride.

"Maybe I need to be in a place where there's not as many superstars. They (MCA) didn't need to hang their hat on my name and I need to be somewhere where I'm a little bit bigger of a flag for the company."


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