Don’t miss your chance to see this iconic country singer live in concert on December 1 & 2, 2017 at 8pm!
Tickets are on sale September 1, 2017 at 8am! Reserve your seats by phone at 1-888-MAIN ACT (1-888-624-6228), in person at the Chinook Winds Box Office, or online.
Reserved Seating Tickets: $38 – $53. Must be 16 or older to attend.
‘Say The Words’ VIP Experience– $175 per ticket package
Please note: All merchandise will be shipped to the package purchaser’s home. You setlist will arrive in your post-show email from CID and will arrive within 1 week following your show.
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She’s had five #1 singles, sold millions of records, won the Academy of Country Music’s Top Female Vocalist Award and claimed a CMA trophy for her signature song, “Born To Fly.” It’s tough to imagine many accomplishments Sara Evans hasn’t already checked off her bucket list. And yet, with the release of her eighth studio album, Words, she demonstrates that she’s still 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 unusual for a woman in the genre.
Words is the first project on Evans’ own label: Born To Fly Records, appropriately named after that CMA-winning signature song, which celebrated risk and adventure. Much is familiar about Words. Evans’ voice is warm and strong, the songs are authentic and memorable, and the actual words themselves resonate with the realities of everyday life.
Sara Evans is one of country’s iconic modern singers and her music has resonated on country radio, at concert halls and amphitheaters, and in fans’ personal playlists. And the music she’s made to date is authentically her. But where “Born To Fly” narrowed the crowd of voices around her, Words is distinctively Sara Evans. For a woman who always tackled the music her own way, the new album is 100% her own. It’s a big reason that the album is titled Words. The songs generate a number of words – flexible, commanding, sassy, daring, loving, hopeful, resilient – that all embody parts of Evans’ inimitable persona.
Her adaptability is clear from the outset of Words. The rippling mandolin and bold fiddle in the opening “Long Way Down” hint at bluegrass. The moody second track, “Marquee Sign,” segues into pop-leaning territory with jagged keyboard sounds and thick harmonies, including her 14 year-old daughter, Olivia. The third song, “Diving In Deep,” employs rolling bass and buoyant percussion to establish an island feel. There’s plenty more variety along the way: the light reggae approach to “Rain And Fire,” the Celtic undercurrent in “I Need A River” and the motherly parental ballad “Letting You Go,” written for son Avery, who’s just months away from leaving the nest.
Evans co-wrote three of the album’s 14 songs, instinctively picking material along the way that matches her world view. Thirteen additional females racked up writing credits on the project, including Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott, Pistol Annies’ Ashley Monroe, The Isaacs’ Sonya Isaacs, Hillary Lindsey (“Blue Ain’t Your Color”), Caitlyn Smith (“Wasting All These Tears”), Heather Morgan (“Beat Of The Music”) and Liz Hengber (“For My Broken Heart”).
Words closes with an acoustic revision of “A Little Bit Stronger,” her pensive, heartbreak anthem that spent two weeks at #1. That latter title represents a look at the journey thus far, one that’s kept Evans firmly in the forefront of country music for a solid 20 years. Born and raised in Boonville, Missouri, she grew up listening – like much of her audience – to a mix of country, pop and rock on the radio. She began singing with the family band when she was five and made her first attempts at recording as a teenager, committing to a creative path with her move to Nashville in 1991.
Smitten with country’s legacy, her version of Buck Owens’ “I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail” won the approval of songwriter Harlan Howard – a Country Music Hall of Fame member who authored Patsy Cline’s “I Fall To Pieces” and The Judds’ “Why Not Me” – and of George Jones, who personally invited her to open for him at the historic Ryman Auditorium on the strength of her first album. That project – Three Chords and the Truth, produced by Dwight Yoakam’s then-guitarist, Pete Anderson – arrived in 1997 to critical acclaim. It accurately represented a key piece of Evans’ musical personality, yet it missed other elements that were likewise influential.
“If I could go back and whisper in my ear, I probably would have advised myself to go a little bit broader with the music and not make such a hillbilly record,” she says. “I was in this mindset that I was gonna be a female version of Dwight Yoakam. That’s a part of who I am, but it’s not all of who I am. I also grew up listening to Stevie Nicks and Phil Collins and so I wish I would have rounded myself out a little more on that first project.”
She clearly learned from the experience. Her resume now includes 14 Top 20 country hits, ranging from her reassuring first #1 – “No Place That Far,” featuring background vocals by Vince Gill – to the neo-traditional “Suds In The Bucket” to the elegant, spiky pop feel of “Slow Me Down.”
But Evans has been expansive in other parts of her public life, too. She’s co-authored a trio of books for Thomas Nelson; advocated on behalf of the Red Cross; became an active contributor to the community in Birmingham, Alabama, where she’s lived with husband Jay Barker for nearly a decade; and established a lifestyle blog — A Real Fine Place — that captures her flare for fashion, beauty and cooking. That blog also demonstrates that she understands, and lives, the solid, practical American work ethic that’s alive and well in her fan base.
Evans is such a sign post for women in country that when the producers of the Nashville TV series wanted to ensure its realism, they sought out Evans as a consultant to help them understand firsthand the dynamics of operating as a touring country singer and a mom, specifically informing Connie Britton’s character, Rayna Jaymes. With the formation of Born To Fly Records, Evans now has a life-meets-art moment, with her real life embodying the label-owner role that Jaymes took on with the fictional Highway 65 Records. Not that Evans has any intention of copying the on-screen character.
“I’m not trying to be Rayna Jaymes and I certainly don’t want to die in a car wreck,” Evans says with a laugh.
What Evans does want to do is represent the full panorama of her artistic vision. By handpicking the team around her and making self-expression the priority of her work, she’s found songs that continue to connect her to the emotional core of her audience, and to adhere to that “Born To Fly” embrace of risk and adventure. That theme is a big part of Words, particularly in “Letting You Go,” as she encourages her son to find his own path, singing “You were also born to fly away” at its motherly apex. “We were crying when we wrote it,” she says. “That’s so sad, and it’s so full-circle. We couldn’t even sing it all the way through to get a work tape because we were crying so hard.”
The tears come from the separation that accompanies children growing into adulthood, but they’re also a result of knowing that his path – like her own – will have its hardships. That’s where the music part comes into play on Words. There’s an arc to the album, and in particular to the sonic evolution of “I Need A River,” that hints at the resilience that’s key to a successful life. Trusting in their ability to bounce back is what enables people to take their biggest – and, sometimes, most rewarding – risks. Doing it her way. As a mom. As a record company entrepreneur. And, mostly, as a distinct artist still excited about her unique journey.