American Country singer-songwriter Sara Evans is one of the most enduring artists in the genre. Despite it being a male-dominated industry, Evans is one female artist that has made a massive impact in Country music. She released her debut album Three Chords and the Truth in 1997 but it was her third album Born To Fly that gave her the huge breakthrough she’d worked so hard for. Certified double platinum in the US the album spawned a series of hits including the number 1 title track. In 2014 Evans released her seventh studio album Slow Me Down and she released her first festive collection At Christmas.
For her eighth solo album Words Evans has gone independent, releasing the record via her own label Born To Fly. The project’s lead single Marquee Sign is the kind of track that sets Evans apart from her contemporaries. The lyrics tell a tale of regret after falling for someone that turned out to be no good. The song has a big chorus and strong vocals from Evans, ranking among her finest singles to date.
Featuring a handful of co-writes from Evans, Words pools together a wealth of songwriting talent including Ashley Monroe, Jaida Dreyer and Hillary Lindsey. The album is rich with variety whilst managing to always stay distinctively Evans. Unlike many artists, Evans doesn’t get lost in the production and puts her stamp on everything she does. The album opens with the acoustic-driven Long Way Down, a song that embrace the traditional side of Evans’ music influences and it grabs your attention quickly. As soon as you hear her voice, you remember why you loved her in the first place.
Evans’ ability as a storyteller is evident across the record. Even when she’s singing other people’s words, you believe every single word that comes out of her mouth. The highlight I Don’t Trust Myself, a tale of trying to resist giving in to temptation, finds Evans expertly embodying the character of a woman who is unable to control her emotions when it comes to a lover. The battle between head and heart is evident and it’s one of the finest vocals on the record.
Title track Words strips everything back and allows Evans’ voice to really shine. When she hits the higher parts of her range it’s magic and the song is a relatable and emotional moment on the album. Elsewhere Dive In Deep has a tropical uptempo feel, Like the Way You Love Me is a powerful soaring ballad, and Make Room at the Bottom is a tale of journeying to rock bottom and being unable to stop yourself.
A song that caught me by surprise is Letting You Go, which is a song Evans wrote about her eldest son coming of age and fleeing the nest. It’s one of the hardest moments for a parent to go through and Evans captures it so beautifully. The album comes to a close with an acoustic version of Evans’ monster hit A Little Bit Stronger, which is the perfect end to the record.
Everything Evans does is worth your time but there’s something about Words that feels truly special. It’s a record that has been put together with love and passion, and that shines through in every track. Evans has never sounded better and in years to come this record will likely rank as one of her finest. There’s a real sense of freedom and happiness that resonates from the record and that makes it all the more enjoyable to listen to. Words is an album you simply have to listen to and Evans remains a vital force in Country music.
Track Listing: 1. Long Way Down 2. Marquee Sign 3. Diving In Deep 4. All the Love You Left Me 5. Like The Way You Love Me 6. Rain and Fire 7. Night Light 8. I Need a River 9. I Don’t Trust Myself 10. Make Room at the Bottom 11. Words 12. I Want You 13. Letting You Go 14. A Little Bit Stronger (Acoustic) Record Label: Born To Fly Release Date: 21st July 2017 Buy Now: iTunes