updated 09/08/2012 AT 7:00 AM ET
•originally published 09/08/2012 AT 9:05 AM ET
LeAnn Rimes said she couldn’t ignore “the elephant in the room” on Friday night, and she wanted all her fans to know that she’s doing well after checking herself into treatment on Aug. 29 to deal with anxiety and stress.
“I’m totally cool and so happy; I think I’m about to cry,” Rimes told the crowd at the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center in Eau Claire, Wis. “Thanks for being awesome fans – patient and understanding.”
Rimes, 30, performed an impressive 14-song, 70-minute concert on Friday, giving fans a taste of new material that foregrounds personal turmoil in her lyrics.
Despite her publicized stint in treatment, where the singer will return after she finishes a series of concerts in the Midwest this weekend, Rimes appeared to be in a good spirits, dancing along to much of the music. She smiled often, and her voice was strong.
But she also brought an edginess that wasn’t present in her earlier music.
“I’m pissed off at a lot of things, and I just can’t say it,” Rimes said on stage. “So, it comes out in the music.”
One new, country-tinged track is titled “Spitfire,” with Rimes singing in the chorus, “You make me want to spit fire.”
She then moved into a mellower ballad, “Probably,” which ended with her singing the phrase, “Everyone says I’m crazy. I guess I’ll just have to see.”
Rimes said she worked with Grammy Award-winning songwriter Dan Wilson (who’s also penned songs for Adele and the Dixie Chicks) to help put her thoughts into songs.
“On this new record, I guess I bared everything down to the core,” Rimes said.
She described the new song, “Borrowed,” as “the most honest song I ve written,” adding that she shed a lot of tears the day she wrote it with Wilson. As she sat on a stool, she crooned solemnly, “I don’t want to give you back. You’re the best I’ve ever had.”
Her new album is tentatively set to be released next year, she added.
Though the mood of some new songs was heavy, Rimes seemed playful and was having fun. For the encore, she sat down on the stage, with a lyric sheet in hand and did a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
And she Tweeted her appreciation after the show, writing, “Thanks to all my wonderful fans in Wisconsin. You showed me an amazing amount of love and respect tonight. Love you always.”