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Country - Released May 15, 2020 | Born To Fly Records

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Country - Released August 30, 2019 | Born To Fly Records

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Country - Released March 10, 2014 | RCA Records Label Nashville

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Country - Released August 17, 2007 | RCA Records Label Nashville

Sara Evans wasted no time getting back to what she does best in the music game after her divorce. While it's true that this is a compilation released just a week after the messy event was final, this set arrived and four of its 14 cuts are new tracks. There are some real problems with assembling a collection like this: for starters it contains not a single cut from her excellent debut, Three Chords and the Truth, issued in 1997. Greatest Hits is essentially every big single, but ignores some of the also-rans in favor of new songs. That's fine and its accurate, but it feels incomplete. The new cuts are part of the problem: the album opens with "As If," an anthemic but generic love song written with Hillary Lindsey and John Shanks, who produced all the new cuts (and you can be sure at least two of them will end up on her next studio effort). The cut is full of big, compressed guitars and muted, programmed-sounding drums -- despite the fact that Evans has one of the best bands in the business. Her own amazing voice is covered over by the production, and the lyrics coming out at this particular time are sure to invite speculation -- but perhaps that's part of the game plan. Nashville's publicity game is as savvy as L.A.'s or New York's, no matter what they show on the surface. The bottom line is the track doesn't cut it. It might even be a hit because Evans fans are notoriously faithful (and they should be, for she hasn't let them down yet, but this effort is still substandard for such a fine writer). The other new cuts, which make up the last three on the disc, are also co-written with Shanks, along with either Aimee Mayo, Lindsey, and Matt Evans (right, her brother). "I Love You with All My Heart" is another big love song, but it fares far better than "As If." It contains drama and is dynamic despite its rather hopelessly compressed acoustic and electric guitar sound (that makes everything sound thin). It's almost as if Shanks is going for a contemporary country version of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound, with a million guitars, big fiddles, layered pianos, drums, and a flat-sounding bassline that just keeps time. Whatever it is, it doesn't work. Evans, who is a truly gifted singer and an excellent judge of her own production, must have had a hard year to let this guy touch her music. But the melody redeems the track, and its feel in large part is more emotive and less contrived than its predecessor. "Pray for You" is an honest-to-goodness country song, and this feels like Evans at her strongest. It's a story-song, full of memory, longing, and reflection. The melody is quite beautiful, and Evans allows her voice to let the song guide it rather than shoving the song through the band's racket. The closer, "Some Things Never Change," is another country-rock tune with reedy fiddles (that didn't have to be), but Evans' lyric turns on a dime and allows the narrative to tell itself. She offers a portrait of everyday life that feels desirable, even enough to be yearned for. The instrumentation is still gummed up, but there is a more organic, less slick presentation here; in fact, the piano actually sounds like one, and the singer is allowed the range of her voice to get above the accompaniment. Hopefully this is where she's heading on her next record and hopefully she finds someone else to produce or do it herself. As for the "Greatest Hits" part of this, the title track from No Place That Far is here, as are the first four cuts from Born to Fly, "Suds in the Bucket" from Restless, and three from Real Fine Place (the title cut, "Cheatin'," and of course, "You'll Always Be My Baby"). It's a mixed bag: you get some great songs all together, and some new ones. Unfortunately, only half of them approach the true worth of Evans' artistry. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Country - Released October 9, 2000 | RCA Records Label Nashville

After the commercial and critical success Sara Evans rightfully garnered for 1998's No Place That Far and the extensive tour she undertook to support it, Born to Fly emphasizes the more contemporary sounds on the recording, while placing some of the rootsy bluegrass back in the mix. She does this with the confidence and authority of a seasoned veteran who is in control of her work. Sitting in the producer's chair for the first time with Paul Worley, Evans co-wrote six of the set's 11 tracks. The studio players assembled on this date are impressive: Ricky Skaggs,Jerry Douglas, Randy Scruggs, Dan Dugmore, Bruce Hornsby, Biff Watson, Aubrey Haynie, Jonathan Yudkin, and Glenn Worf, to name a few. The standout cuts are the playful title track and first single, "Born to Fly," with its fiddles, Dobros, and mandolins; the nostalgic ballad "I Learned That from You," with its whinnying pedal steel; and covers of Edwin McCain's "I Could Not Ask for More" and the closer, a reading of Hornsby's gently choogling back-porch love song "Every Little Kiss." Evans moved to the top of the charts again with this one, and was able to go four deep for singles, solidifying her place at the beginning of the 21st century. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Country - Released October 3, 2005 | RCA Records Label Nashville

Three years after the 2000 smash Born to Fly, Sara Evans matched its hit status with Restless, where singles like "Suds in the Bucket" and "Perfect" balanced her fun-loving country girl sensibilities with a homespun take on true love. She maintains that balance in 2005 with Real Fine Place. Evans is unabashed and straightforward about loving her husband and her family, and living her life in the eyes of God. But that doesn't mean she can't paint the town ("Momma's Night Out") or sing one of the best country songs about cheating in a while, the aptly named "Cheatin'." "How do you like that paper plate and those pork 'n' beans you're eatin'?" Evans asks with a perfect blend of spite and hurt. "Maybe you should've thought about that when you were cheatin'." Like on "Momma's Night," where a brassy horn section and backup singers punch up the arrangement, Real Fine Place isn't afraid to challenge the conventions of country or even contemporary country. "Coalmine" begins as a typical Dixie Chicks-style traditionalist number, but it's modernized with great lyrics that don't stick to cliché ("Can't wait to get him home/Ain't gonna have nothin' but the supper on...") and an ending section that layers Evans' vocal numerous times over the fiddle and rambling percussion. "Roll Me Back in Time" was written by Sheryl Crow and pop producer John Shanks and it sounds like it, while lead single "Real Fine Place to Start" is a breezy foot-tapper that shows off Evans' throaty vocal over steady pop percussion. While Real Fine Place is pretty slick in its production, it's sure to lure traditional country fans with Evans' rich vocal presence and the album's assertion that the simplest things in life are its truest. In that sense, Real Fine Place is the nicest kind of contemporary country. It looks at both sides of that phrase equally without losing sight of the heart in the center. © Johnny Loftus /TiVo
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Country - Released July 1, 1997 | RCA Records Label Nashville

Coming on like an up-to-date version of Patsy Cline, Sara Evans tosses her hat into the ring for best new female country artist of 1998. Surprisingly, with Three Chords and the Truth, she just may win. This disc rings out with an air of originality helped along by great tunes and solid backup musicianship. Producer Pete Anderson (of Dwight Yoakam fame) helps keep things pared down and centered, giving Evans the opportunity to shine. The title cut is a must for new country fans, while "Imagine That" calls to mind Billie Holiday. All in all, the title of this disc says it all. © James Chrispell /TiVo
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Country - Released October 26, 1998 | RCA Records Label Nashville

On the follow-up to her surprise 1997 debut hit, Three Chords and the Truth, singer and songwriter Sara Evans shocked many of the fans who embraced it with No Place That Far. Where Dwight Yoakam producer and guitarist Pete Anderson helped Evans shape a modern version of hardcore country traditionalism on the first disc, RCA brought in producers Buddy Cannon and Norro Wilson to protect their investment and take her to the next level by adding plenty of sheen and shine -- and a slew of celebrity guests for good measure. It worked: No Place That Far firmly established Evans as a bona fide superstar, a down-home singer with the pipes of a diva. Almost immediately, she entered the pantheon reserved for singers like Martina McBride (who appears here) and Trisha Yearwood (who she basically replaced) in the spotlight. Evans co-wrote five of the set's 11 tunes including the title track, which was a smash out of the box. It's not that slick pop completely replaced the torch and twang in Evans' voice and songs; it's more like it was integrated gradually, eventually replacing it. There are still a number of cuts here that show off Evans' roots sound: the opener, "The Great Unknown," co-written with Phil Barnhart and James House; "These Days," written with the great Matraca Berg; and the closer, "There's Only One," penned with Leslie Satcher. But the title track, written with Tony Martin and Tom Shapiro, could have been released in 2007 -- it bore the adult pop mark of the new contemporary country sound. With backing vocals by heavy hitters like Vince Gill and McBride, it was destined for the Top Five. The soaring emotional euphoria in the refrain (which seemingly underscores the definition of transcendent love) was impossible to resist. Another notable cut is Jamie O'Hara's country pub rock shuffle "The Crying Game." (It sounds like it was written by Hank DeVito and produced like it was a track on an early Rosanne Cash or Rodney Crowell record.) It was a place where Evans' voice was left pretty much untreated and allowed to display its natural range and emotional depth. "Fool, I'm a Woman," with its sprightly mandolins, ringing electric guitars, and crackling snare drum, is another of those crossover tunes that landed as a single. In all, the album scored three, and placed Evans in the multi-platinum category at the top of the charts, where every effort since has landed. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Ambient/New Age - Released November 17, 2014 | RCA Records Label Nashville

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Country - Released March 7, 2011 | RCA Records Label Nashville

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Country - Released August 7, 2003 | RCA Records Label Nashville

Commercial country music has become so slick and predictable that when an artist emerges who conveys even the slightest bit of mold-breaking potential, their name rolls off the lips of critics like an answered prayer. Missouri-raised siren Sara Evans has that potential, and uses it sparingly on Restless, her fourth record for RCA. The spirited opener, "Rockin' Horse," features fellow crooner Vince Gill on harmony, and impeccable playing from Nashville's finest. "Backseat of a Greyhound Bus" is a lush tale of redemption that sounds like the musical sister to Train's 2001 smash, "Drops of Jupiter." The Celtic-flavored "Restless," the obvious single, is tailor-made to fit in between the Dixie Chicks and Shania Twain on any FM station. After these three songs, Evans goes on autopilot, exploring the generic world of crossover country like a Shakespeare scholar in remedial English. She sounds bored. Time crawls from ballad to boogie, until finally reaching the tune "Big Cry." This is an outstanding country-soul hybrid recalling early k.d. lang and a direction that Evans would do well to inspect further. Like fellow producer Mutt Lange, Paul Worley knows how to work the machine, and Restless plays like a Nashville tutorial on the polished, hit-song assembly line. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Country - Released January 1, 2007 | E & S Records

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Country - Released June 23, 2017 | Born To Fly Records

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Country - Released July 14, 2017 | Born To Fly Records

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Country - Released June 9, 2017 | Born To Fly Records

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Country - Released October 19, 2018 | Born To Fly Records

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Country - Released June 30, 2017 | Born To Fly Records

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Country - Released July 7, 2017 | Born To Fly Records

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Country - Released July 21, 2017 | Born To Fly Records

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Country - Released November 3, 2009 | RCA Records Label Nashville