Monarch Publicity/Kristin Barlowe
For Sara Evans, making an album is a lot like having a child. Months are spent preparing for its arrival and you envision what it’s going to be like. But, until it arrives there’s a huge level of anticipation and surprise. “When it’s born you’re like ‘Oh yeah! I totally expected this,'” Evans told Country Rebel.
Evans’ soon-to-be released eighth studio album, Words, carried the same element of surprise for the singer. Like every album she’s recorded before, Evans started out by choosing songs with great lyrics.
“It has to be a great lyric. You can take a great lyric and do whatever you want in the studio…change the tempo or change the music. But, a song must have a solid foundation of a good story or smart lyrics.”
As a rule, the “Stronger” singer doesn’t take into account a song’s authors when choosing them for her albums. “There is no pre-judgement. I want to have the same song experience that the listener is going to have the first time they hear it. I never have an agenda. It’s ‘May the best song win.'”
It wasn’t until the songs were chosen for Words that Evans discovered that there were 14 female songwriters included in the credits. Those writers include Grammy Award-winning writer Hillary Lindsey (“Jesus, Take The Wheel,” “Girl Crush”), Caitlyn Smith (“Like I’m Gonna Lose You”), Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott, and Sonya Isaacs (“I’m Gonna Love You Through It”), to name a few.
The 14 songs that ended up on Words all share a common thread of amazing lyrics, but differ greatly in style. The album’s opening track is a bluegrass cover of the SteelDrivers tune “Long Way Down.” The listener is immediately drawn in by the catchy mandolin rifts and Evans’ Patty Loveless-esque vocals. After listening to “Long Way Down” it should come as no surprise that Sara’s bluegrass roots run deep, back to when she first learned to sing.
“There’s always a song [on my albums] that that great bluegrass element. I started out singing bluegrass. I’m a huge fan of bluegrass,” Evans said. “When I sing a song like ‘Long Way Down’ the Patty Loveless sound comes out. I want people to hear it and say ‘This is so central Sara Evans.'”
“Long Way Down” is followed by songs that run the gamut of styles from pop to reggae to country. “There’s something for everyone,” according to Evans.
With the help of her family and her team, the CMA Award winner chose the pop-inspired song “Marquee Sign” as the lead single. The song was penned by Evans along with award-winning writer Jimmy Robbins and Heather Morgan. For Evans, the song was an obvious choice for her first release from Words.
“‘Marquee Sign’ isn’t the most bluegrass and not the most pop. It’s in the middle. My kids and everyone on my team agreed that is was a great lead off single,” said Evans. The song also features the artists 14-year old daughter Olivia singing background vocals.
But, Olivia isn’t the only one of Evans’ three children to inherit their mother’s talent.
“All three of my kids have grown up on the road and are gifted at music,” Evans says of her talented brood. “We recorded most of Words during the school year so having to go to Nashville from Birmingham wasn’t possible or the kids would have been on the album more.”
While Evans’ 17-year old son Avery didn’t appear on the album, he did get a very special song tribute. With the help of two songwriting friends, Evans wrote the song “Letting You Go,” a poignant song from a mother to a son that is sure to make you cry.
Evans shared that the song didn’t come from a sad place, but a place where all moms find themselves eventually. “Sad isn’t even the right word. It’s more like ‘Why does this have to end?’ But, it does and you have to accept it.”
Whether you’re a mom, you’ve suffered heartbreak, you enjoy a great bluegrass lick, or you’re just craving some great new country music, Sara Evans’ new album has you covered. Words will be released on July 21st and is available for pre-order by clicking here. With your pre-order you can instantly download four of the tracks from Words including the just-released track “Diving In Deep.”
We think you’ll agree with Sara Evans that Words is hands-down the best album of her career. “I’m overly excited and proud of this album. I really want my fans and every music lover to get this album.”