"My greatest challenge is to educate my son properly and make sure he grows up in a way that he doesn't have these ideas about women that have persisted for far too many years," she tells PEOPLE

By Tricia Despres
May 07, 2021 06:00 PM
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On any given day, no matter the turmoil that the world is churning up outside her picket fence, Laura Bell Bundy can now find solitude.

"One day, Huck saw deer and a bunny and geese and swans and ducks and lambs, and that was all in a matter of just a few hours," Bundy, 40, tells PEOPLE of the outdoor adventures of her soon-to-be 3-year-old son on the farm she and her husband Thom Hinkle now call home. "I just look at him and think you myself, 'this is incredible what he is learning, just by living here.' He's truly getting a sense of his natural environment."

Indeed, the move from the west coast to the east coast just a few short months ago has allowed this Kentucky native, who grew up as a kid on long country roads and wide-open spaces, to see a new view outside her window, especially gratifying after going through the chaos of the pandemic.

"I'm fairly sure that both me and my husband had an existential crisis at the very same time," Bundy says with a laugh. "We were stuck at home with all of our feelings in a pressure cooker. I mean, we had been talking about moving, because while I loved California, we wanted more land. So, we took this trip across the country and found this 18-acre farm outside of New York City … and now, I'm a farm girl."

Granted, 'farm girl' is just one slot on Bundy's already crowded resume that includes everything from her time as a country music singer to a Tony-nominated Broadway star to a television actress on shows such as Hart of Dixie, Anger Management and How I Met Your Mother. Of course, Bundy could certainly also add a women's rights advocate to her list of strengths, spurned stronger than ever as she watched Hillary Clinton lose her 2016 presidential bid to Donald Trump.

"It was that night that I noticed the double standard more than I ever had before," Bundy remembers. "To watch maybe the most qualified candidate we ever had be reduced to the way she looked and what she was wearing as opposed to her qualifications and her ability to do the job was just mind-blowing to me. From that moment on, I wanted to dig more into why we were where we were."

Laura Bell Bundy
Laura Bell Bundy
| Credit: Jeremy Cowart

And in doing so, Bundy found herself craving the chance to put her strong feelings into a soul-baring form of music that would further illuminate the plight of the female race with a mix of humor and nostalgia. But at the very same time, she found out she was pregnant with her first child … and it was a boy.

"I was so ready for a girl," admits Bundy, who made her first big splash playing Elle Woods in the Legally Blonde musical. "But then I realized that I had been challenged with the greatest mission ever, to raise a son with a new sense of masculinity in which it's OK to feel what you feel and talk about it. I would teach him to respect women and I would show him a working woman in a household where we share tasks."

And she has done exactly that.

"I'm raising a feminist son," explains Bundy, who found herself on the country music charts with her 2010 gunslinger of a song "Giddy on Up." "The fact is that I could write this album and talk about the issues, but my greatest challenge is to educate my son properly and make sure he grows up in a way that he doesn't have these ideas about women that have persisted for far too many years."

Laura Bell Bundy
Laura Bell Bundy and son Huck
| Credit: Fipa Freitas

And it's these ideas that Bundy wags a rather pointed finger at on the new yet nostalgic, throwback yet forward-thinking Women of Tomorrow, an album produced & written by Bundy, Shea Carter & Jeremy Adelman, which serves as her first record in over five years.

"I wanted to talk about the issues, but I wanted to write the songs in a style of a standard, with this classic, MGM movie musical feel to it," Bundy explains of the album inspired by the sounds of legends such as The Andrew Sisters, Doris Day and Peggy Lee while tackling issues such as equal pay, glass ceilings and unrealistic beauty standards. "It feels very fifties-ish, when women looked and appeared happy on magazines, but had no rights."'

And while the album experienced its share of stops and starts, watching it finally come to fruition at this moment of Bundy's life seems somewhat apropos.

"I began to see what it was like to be a woman through a whole new perspective as a mom, and I just think it made the entire album better. It made me better."