Proof Evans is an accomplished entertainer with a back catalogue worthy of respect.
Chris White 2007-10-11
With her film star looks, soaring voice and a knack for knocking out radio-friendly, instantly catchy tunes, it’s something of a surprise that Sara Evans hasn’t emulated Shania Twain and become a bona fide global star.
Raised as one of seven children in Booneville, Missouri, Evans was singing in her family’s country band by the age of five and performing solo by 16. The inevitable move to Nashville and a string of critically-acclaimed singles and albums followed, with her most recent long-player, Real Fine Place, reaching number three in the mainstream U.S. chart.
While her songs often deal with traditional wholesome country themes of family, God and love and generally feature the genre’s obligatory fiddle and steel guitar, Evans has a commercial edge that separates her from many of her contemporaries. This greatest hits collection opens with one of four new compositions, "As If", an uncomplicated rock tune that would not sound out of place on a national radio playlist. Other tracks, such as "Love You With All My Heart" and "No Place That Far" are similarly middle of the road, more 80s power ballad than Emmylou Harris or Loretta Lynn.
Despite her undoubted accessibility, ironically Evans is at her best when she sounds most country. "Pray For You" is sincere, folksy and sweetly understated, while "Suds In The Bath" is a good old-fashioned ballsy romp that would set the most diehard Grand Ole Opry listener’s toes tapping. At 36, it may be too late for the admittedly still beautiful Evans to achieve Shania-like crossover appeal beyond the U.S, but her Greatest Hits is nevertheless proof she is an accomplished entertainer with a back catalogue worthy of respect.