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Finding Freedom

Lane Brody casts her eyes skyward and breaks into a smile that could grace the cover of any fashion magazine. At 47, she's feeling like a happy-go-lucky kid again.

And with good reason.

Since 1995, the '80s hitmaker has been married to her "perfect husband," Nashville musician Eddie Bayers. This past year, she poured her heart into a pair of personally meaningful projects, a just-released CD, Pieces Of Life, featuring guest performances by Alison Krauss and Collin Raye, and her first annual Wildlife Benefit Concert in Nashville.

The first single from the album, "Faster Than The Speed Of Love," raced to No. 5 on the European country charts, and is scheduled for U.S. release in late January.

"Every day is a blessing to me," says Lane, brushing back a tangle of blond hair. "That's what the new album is all about, the joy of life."

Lane would reserve the right to feel just the opposite, though. She started her career in the early 1980s, armed with a beautiful voice and a model's looks to match. But that was at a time when grits and glamour didn't mix.

"I had done some modeling work, and had hopes of getting into movies and television," recalls Lane, "That was not looked on as a plus. The music industry was like, 'Well, what are you - a model or a singer?' Unfortunately, it confused people in Nashville.

"Now," she adds with a smile, "they would welcome that; it would not be a problem. Women today are looking beautiful and singing great and becoming international stars, which I think is wonderful."

Lane had some success with the Oscar-nominated song "Over You," from the movie Tender Mercies in 1983, and her No. 1 duet with Johnny Lee, "The Yellow Rose" in 1984. But she found that the demands of stardom often conflicted with her personal beliefs.

"I've always had a strong faith and good Midwestern values," says the Wisconsin-raised singer. "But the labels and the industry executives did not want my spirituality to be evident in my songs. So I did not have the freedom to record what I wanted. I always said that if anything ever went against me morally and spiritually, then it was not going to work for me."

She found strength through her husband and her fans around the globe. "Eddie has always been a big supporter, and he produced the new album for me," she says. "I get thousands of e-mails from fans in America and Europe, which really energizes me. When I do Fan Fair every year, the turnout is incredible.

"So any bitterness I might have had from the past is completely gone," Lane continues, "because I feel that I got something greater in the end. I have long since stopped having any dreams of big stardom, but there is a certain freedom in that.

"Right now," she smiles, "I'm just taking life one day at a time."

-- Bob Paxman