“Well, we're sore," Yearwood said, laughing. "We’re all here for the same reason, which is to help everybody have a roof over their head. So, it’s a great cause. It’s a great experience.”
This year, the project is held at a large-scale affordable housing neighborhood in Charlotte, North Carolina. Construction began on Sunday, coincidentally marking Jimmy Carter's 99th birthday. It was celebrated with a “Happy Birthday” sing-along for the former president currently in hospice care at home.
“You learn several things” when working alongside the Carters," Yearwood said. "You learn that you better be working all the time — if you look like you're standing there idle, President Carter will ask you if you need a job, if you need something to do."
“This work site without them, we're calling that 'being Carter-ed.' If you get caught without a job, you’ve been Carter'ed."
Brooks and Yearwood first became involved with Habitat for Humanity following Hurricane Katrina and were named Habitat Humanitarians in 2016. Yearwood says they’ve built alongside the former president and first lady on every annual work project they’ve participated in, with the exception of this one.
Yearwood also told The Associated Press she's working on new music, writing when the songs come to her, but there's no rush. “We got married almost 18 years ago to be together, to not be apart," she says. "So, whoever’s touring the other one is there, whether they’re on stage or not. So, we work together all the time.”
Brooks has spent a large part of the year performing at a Las Vegas residency, which will extend into 2024.
“It's a moment of magic for us. Always has been," he says of the shows. "We’ve been pretty lucky in the fact that everything we do comes back to people loving people. Inclusion, inclusion, inclusion. This is the perfect example of it. If you come to Vegas, you’ll see a room full of it, and I’m very lucky to get to play for those people.”
Habitat might prove to a musical inspiration as well. “There’s a pretty sweet rhythm so you can pick up some good old, good old hammer tracks here,” he jokes.
"And it’s funny how you’ll find yourself just start to sing a song or hum a song to the rhythm of the atmosphere. So, it’s in our lives. You can’t escape it. And it’s fun to get to share it with these people.”