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Mindy McCready is standing in a Nashville-area laundromat, intently preparing to flip a quarter. She pops it into the air - and it flies astray, landing a couple of feet away.
"Good start!" she laughs.
There's a little more than personal coin-flipping pride on the line here - Mindy is surrounded by a camera crew, and a crucial shot in her new video, "Maybe, Maybe Not," is depending on a good flip. After a few more tries, she gets it perfect - and then has to nail it again and again, from several other angles.
That coin flip is so important because "Maybe, Maybe Not" is about a woman coming to a crossroads, making a life-altering decision in a plain ol' laundromat.
"I don't want to give everything away, but the song tells a story, and the video tells the story of the song," she explains between takes. "And I love shooting videos. It's really easy, fun and it's something that comes really natural to me. It's actually one of my favorite things to do, besides singing in the studio."
Mindy's been doing a lot of both lately. Her new, self-titled album is scheduled for release soon. The CD will be her fourth since she debuted with 1996's double-platinum Ten Thousand Angels, which made her name with hits like "Guys Do It All The Time" and the title cut.
The new music will be her first for a new record label, and it follows the disappointing performance of 1999's I'm Not So Tough. That means Mindy has a lot to prove - but she's confident her new album is up to the challenge.
"The songs on this album absolutely kill me," she says. "The audience knows when you're really singing about something that means something to you, and each one of these songs touched me on an emotional level."
Mindy may be spending the day surrounded by washers and dryers to bring "Maybe, Maybe Not" to video, but she doesn't claim any particular expertise doing laundry - but when it comes to household tidying, she's a carpet-cleaning commando.
"I have everything," she says. "I have a Dustbuster, I have a portable wet/dry vac and a regular dry vac. I have a vacuum cleaner that drives itself. It has gears, and you can ride on it!
"And then I have the mama: a heated, steam-cleaning machine with six rotating brushes and headlights. It's perfect for those late nights of boredom with no date. Like the other night, I saw one ugly spot on my carpet and got the carpet cleaner out - I was just gonna clean the one spot, and then I saw another spot, and another, and another, and before long it's three in the morning and my brother, who lives with me, is going, 'Could you turn that thing off?' I'm like, 'No, there's spots everywhere!' I was up all night long, I swear. I just got into it!"
That experience at keeping late hours will come in handy today - it's only the early afternoon here at the Fabric Care Center, but Mindy and the crew have already been here since 7:30 a.m. "We've got a long way to go," she says. "We'll be out here pretty much all night."
But all the hard work pays off a little later, when Mindy gets to see some of the footage they've shot during this long day. "It looks beautiful!" she exclaims. "They did a good job of making me look better than I really do."
-- Chris Neal