by Bea Willis
Sara Evans has had five number one singles, sold millions of records, won the Academy of Country Music’s Top Female Vocalist Award and claimed a Country Music Association trophy for her signature song, “Born To Fly.” Evans announced that she would instead be launching her own record label, Born to Fly Records, (appropriately named after that CMA-winning signature song, which celebrated risk and adventure) in conjunction with a distribution deal with Sony RED. This move has led to the release of her first independent CD, Evans explains; “it’s like I’m taking complete control of my music.” The new studio album, titled Words, was released July 21, 2017. The release is Evans eighth studio album, the title represents Evans desire to willing to leap into the unknown, taking greater control of her career and calling the shots in a way that’s unusual in country music – particularly uncommon for a woman in the genre.
Working again with longtime producer Mark Bright, Evans’ voice is warm and strong, the songs are authentic and memorable, and the actual words themselves resonate with the realities of everyday life. “Long Way Down” is a tremendous song. Supported by acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin, violin and Evans robust country vocal style. The melody is harmonized in all the right spots to lend to the song all the qualities that will make it a country hit. Co-written by Jerry Salley, Tammy Rogers King and Liz Hengbar, it was first recorded by The SteelDrivers and was a on their 2016 GRAMMY award winning album The Muscle Shoals Recordings. It was also nominated for the 2015 IBMA Song of The Year.
“Marquee Sign,” written by Evans, Jimmy Robbins, and Heather Morgan, a medium tempo selection with a country/pop chorus that exhibits all that is great about modern country. Full harmonies, catchy rhythms, and memorable melodies that offer a cross-over appeal. The harmonies are even sweeter for the vocalist, because it features her daughter, Olivia Evans. Olivia can be heard clearly at the end of the track singing add-lib fills.
Evans clearly makes a statement with Words, the music is as strong as the woman singing them, as she takes her music and career into her own control. The sonic result is excellent and Evans sounds phenomenal when holding true to her roots.
Tracks to sample first: “Long Way Down,” Marquee Sign,” “Diving in Deep,” “I Don’t Trust Myself,” and “Words.” The song to take a chance on is “Letting You Go.” The project spends time in both the world of country and the trendier country pop, Evans vocal command allows her to carry both worlds convincingly.