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A female country traditionalist during a time when they were quite rare around Nashville, Sara Evans gained her RCA contract in 1996 after her rendition of Buck Owens' perennial chestnut "I've Got a Tiger by the Tail" impressed its songwriter, Harlan Howard, so much that he considered himself duty-bound to help her. While growing up poor in rural Missouri, Evans performed with her family's band -- at the age of four -- and even recorded in Nashville several years later.
She eventually married and moved to Oregon in 1992, but continued to perform as Sara Evans & North Santiam. The group opened for Willie Nelson and Tim McGraw, among others, but Evans eventually returned to Nashville to try to remake her career. There she impressed Howard enough that he recommended her to RCA executives, who connected her with producer Pete Anderson (a veteran of many albums by Dwight Yoakam). After her debut album, Three Chords & the Truth, was released in July 1997, Evans earned a special honor by being handpicked by George Jones to open a special show in Nashville. No Place That Far followed a year later, and in 2000 she resurfaced with Born to Fly. The title track was a big hit for Evans, and the album eventually peaked in the Top Ten of Billboard's country charts.
She followed that up with 2003's Restless, and returned in 2005 with the Top Ten hit Real Fine Place. Following some tumultuous developments in her personal life, Evans stayed out of recording studios for the latter half of the 2000s. Her label issued Greatest Hits in 2007. She returned to the popular arena with Stronger in early 2011. Reentering the studio in November 2012 with producer Mark Bright, Evans set about recording her seventh studio album, Slow Me Down. Preceded by the release of the title track in September 2013, the album was scheduled for release in March 2014.
Sara Lynn Evans (born February 5, 1971) is an American country singer and songwriter. For her entire career, she has been signed to RCA Records Nashville.
Evans' debut, Three Chords and the Truth, did not produce a Top 40 hit on the Hot Country Songs charts. She followed this up with No Place That Far (1998), Born to Fly (2000), Restless (2003) and Real Fine Place (2005). No Place That Far received a gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), while the other three albums all were certified platinum. These discs include the number 1 singles "No Place That Far", "Born to Fly", "Suds in the Bucket" and "A Real Fine Place to Start", plus the top 10 hits "I Could Not Ask for More" (a cover of the Edwin McCain song), "I Keep Looking", "Perfect" and "Cheatin'". Her 2007 Greatest Hits included the top 15 hits "You'll Always Be My Baby" and "As If". Stronger (2011) included her fifth number 1 hit, "A Little Bit Stronger", which was co-written by Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum. Evans announced a new single called "Slow Me Down" on August 15, 2013, as the lead single of her seventh studio album, Slow Me Down, released on March 11, 2014.
Evans has also won one award each from Billboard, the Academy of Country Music, Country Music Association, Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) and a Dove Award.
ContentsBiography1.1 Early life and the rise to fame1.2 Breakthrough: the Born to Fly and Restless albums1.3 Success of the Real Fine Place album and Greatest Hits1.4 Comeback: Stronger1.5 Slow Me Down and career today
Early life and the rise to fame
Evans was born in Boonville, Missouri, in 1971, and is of Welsh, English, Irish and Native American descent. She was raised on a farm near New Franklin, Missouri, the eldest girl of seven children. By five, she was singing weekends in her family's band. At the age of eight, she was struck by an automobile in front of the family home, and her legs suffered multiple fractures. Recuperating for months in a wheelchair, she continued singing to help pay her medical bills. When she was 16, she began performing at a nightclub near Columbia, Missouri, a gig that lasted two years.
Evans moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1991 to be a country music artist. She met fellow musician Craig Schelske and left Nashville with him in 1992, moving to Oregon. They married in 1993. She returned to Nashville in 1995 and began recording demos. Nashville songwriter Harlan Howard was impressed by her demo of his song "Tiger by the Tail". He decided to help her music career, leading to a signed contract with RCA Nashville.
In 1997, Evans released her debut album for RCA, Three Chords and the Truth. Although none of its three singles ("True Lies," the title track, and "Shame About That") reached the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, the album received critical praise for its neotraditional country sound. In 1998, Evans released her second album, No Place That Far. The album's lead single, "Cryin' Game," also failed to reach the Top 40. However, the album's second single and title track, gave Evans her first Number One hit on the Hot Country Songs chart in March 1999. The album was eventually certified Gold by the RIAA, and produced one additional Top 40 country hit in "Fool, I'm a Woman."
Breakthrough: the Born to Fly and Restless albums
Evans's third studio album, Born to Fly, was released on October 10, 2000. She insisted on hiring Seattle-based rock drummer Matt Chamberlain (The Wallflowers, Edie Brickell), who brought a different sound to her music. The album's title track ("Born to Fly"), which was released as the lead single, was a Number One hit on the Hot Country Songs chart. Three more singles were released from the album ("I Could Not Ask for More," "I Keep Looking," and "Saints & Angels"), the first two reaching the Top 10, and the latter becoming a Top 20 hit. Born to Fly was eventually certified 2× Platinum by the RIAA in 2004.
In 2001, Evans was the most-nominated artist at the Country Music Association awards with seven nominations overall, and she won her first CMA award when "Born to Fly" won the award for Video of the Year, her first major industry award.
Evans released her fourth studio album, Restless, on August 19, 2003. The album's lead single, "Backseat of a Greyhound Bus," was a Top 20 hit on the Hot Country Songs chart. The album debuted at No. 3 on the Top Country Albums chart and at No. 20 on the Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of over 40,000 copies. "Perfect," the album's second single, was a No. 2 hit on the country charts. However, the album's third single, "Suds in the Bucket," was the most successful single; it became Evans's third Number One hit on the Hot Country Songs chart and was also her fifth Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Additionally, it was Evans's first ever Gold-certified single by the RIAA. The album's fourth and final single, "Tonight," failed to reach the Top 40 country charts. Restless received a nomination in the 2005 Academy of Country Music Awards.
Success of the Real Fine Place album and Greatest Hits
Evans's fifth studio album, Real Fine Place, was released on October 4, 2005. The album's lead single, "A Real Fine Place to Start," reached No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart in 2005, as well as reaching the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100. It was certified Gold by the RIAA. The album sold 130,000 copies in its first week, which allowed it to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. "Cheatin'" was released as the second single from Real Fine Place and became a Top 10 country hit, reaching a peak of No. 9 on the Hot Country Songs chart. The album produced two additional chart singles in "Coalmine" (a Top 40 hit) and "You'll Always Be My Baby" (a Top 15 hit). Evans released a gift book that coincided with the album's fourth single. It was written by Evans, Tony Martin and Tom Shapiro, and was also titled You'll Always Be My Baby.
On December 6, 2005, Evans released the compilation album Feels Like Home through Cracker Barrel stores. The album includes a live version of "Born to Fly" and an acoustic version of "No Place That Far." In 2006, Evans released another compilation album, Always There through Hallmark stores for Mothers' Day. The album featured six of her favorite already-released songs, including a live version of "Suds in the Bucket" and an acoustic version of "Born to Fly," as well as two new songs: "You Ought to Know by Now" and "Brooklyn & Austin."
On May 23, 2006, Evans performed at the 2006 ACM awards show in Las Vegas, where she won her first ACM for Top Female Vocalist. R&R also announced Evans as the Female Vocalist of the Year in its 2006 Readers' Poll.
On October 9, 2007, Evans released her first Greatest Hits collection. The compilation features four new songs, including the lead-off single "As If," which was a Top 15 hit on the country charts. It was announced on October 15, 2007, that Evans would host the 41st annual CMA Awards show with LeAnn Rimes on November 7, 2007. Two further singles were released from the album ("Some Things Never Change" and "Love You With All My Heart"); the former was a minor Top 30 hit, while the latter became Evans's first single to fail to chart.
A libertarian Republican, Evans also showed support for Texas Congressman Ron Paul in the 2008 Presidential election and was the headliner at his "Rally For The Republic" on September 2, 2008 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the same day as the Republican National Convention in neighboring St. Paul.
Evans also became a spokesperson for National Eating Disorders Association, and has spoken out widely on this subject, as she has been personally affected by it. She also hosted a charity event, Fashion for Every Body, which featured a fashion show, silent auction and performance by Evans.
The single "Low" was released to radio on September 29, 2008, to promote Billy: The Early Years (for the movie released October 10). The song is featured on the movie's soundtrack which was released on October 7, 2008, and also includes other big name country artists. "Low" debuted (and peaked) on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart at No. 59 on October 12, 2008. It only remained on the chart for one week but returned for a second week in January 2009 at the same position before again falling off the chart.
A book called The Sweet By and By, written by Evans with author Rachel Hauck, was released on January 5, 2010. It is the first release of a four-book deal inked with Thomas Nelson Fiction. The second book, Softly and Tenderly, was released January 14, 2011, and the third, Love Lifted Me, was released January 3, 2012.
Evans stated in a video posting to her fan club on December 23, 2008, that she was working with her brother Matt Evans and producer Nathan Chapman on her sixth studio album. "Feels Just Like a Love Song", was released on July 20, 2009. The song debuted and peaked at No. 59 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart; after spending two weeks on the chart, it fell off. It was intended as the lead-off single to Evans's sixth studio album, Stronger, but was later cut from the final track listing.
In 2009, ABC Daytime and SOAPnet sponsored a tour, headlined by Evans, that featured performances throughout the summer. Additionally, soap performers made appearances at her shows. Evans participated in performances on the networks, as well as on-air interstitial campaigns and online promotions.
In late 2009, Evans released a four-song Christmas EP, I'll Be Home for Christmas, to coincide with her 2009 Christmas tour. The EP includes the title track as well as "O Come All Ye Faithful", "Go Tell It on the Mountain", and "New Again" (a duet with Brad Paisley). It was released on November 3, 2009 to digital retailers.
During Evans's 2010 fanclub party on June 10, 2010, she debuted the first single from her sixth studio album, Stronger, which was released on March 8, 2011. The song, titled "A Little Bit Stronger," was released to radio on September 27, 2010. One of the few songs on the album not co-written by the artist, it was pitched to Evans by its songwriter, Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum. Additionally, the song was included on the soundtrack to the 2010 film Country Strong. It debuted at No. 56 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for the week of October 2, 2010 and hit No. 1 in May 2011. Evans sang the song on the finale of season 12 of the American ABC TV show Dancing with the Stars on May 24, 2011. "A Little Bit Stronger" became Evans's first Platinum-certified single by the RIAA.
"My Heart Can't Tell You No" was released as the second single from Stronger on June 20, 2011. It ultimately reached a peak of No. 21 on the country charts in January 2012. "Anywhere" was released as the album's official third single on July 23rd, 2012.
Slow Me Down and career today
Evans began preparations for her seventh studio album in mid-2012 and entered the recording studio in early November 2012. On August 15, 2013, Evans announced a new single called "Slow Me Down". It was made available for digital download on September 3, 2013 and an album, also titled Slow Me Down, was released March 11, 2014."Bubbly Beauty". Country Weekly. Retrieved 2007-10-02. Sharpe, Jerry (January 28, 2001). "Music Preview: Sara Evans finds formula for country radio success". post-gazette.com. Retrieved 2007-10-02. Sara Evans biography at Great American Country TV.com "Sara Evans's Latest Hit Made Into a Book". CMT. Retrieved 2007-10-02. "Sara Evans Featured on Mother's Day CD". CMT. Retrieved 2007-10-02. "Reba McEntire to Sing Duet on CMA Awards". CMT. Retrieved 2007-10-16. McCarthy, Daniel (2008-09-22) Ron Paul’s Party, The American Conservative "Sara Evans: "Diet Is A Four Letter Word"". GAC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. "Sara Evans Hosts Fashion For Every Body". GAC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. Newspapers, McClatchy (2008-08-11). "Billy Graham biopic shows at Bible belt churches ahead of October release". Guardian (London). Retrieved May 23, 2010. "Evans Brings Music To Chautauqua - post-journal.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Community Information - Jamestown". Post-Journal. 2009-08-28. Retrieved 2013-08-18. Sara releases her first book 'The Sweet By and By' today! "Flip A Ticket News: Sara Evans "Softly & Tenderly" Is Now Available For Purchase". Flipaticket.blogspot.com. 2011-01-14. Retrieved 2013-08-18. "Sara Evans Releases New Book ‘Love Lifted Me’ Today". Tasteofcountry.com. 2012-01-03. Retrieved 2013-08-18. Sara Evans Announces Plans for New Single During Fan Club Party Sara Evans Brings Songs to Soap Operas "Hurry Up to Slow Me Down". Sara Evans. Retrieved 2013-08-18. Sara Evans Gets Up Close and Very Personal With Fans "Single Releases". MusicRow. 2011-06-20. Retrieved 2011-06-06. "Sara Evans’ AXS Concert Is Career First (Exclusive Interview)". Theboot.com. 2012-10-26. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
In 1998, Evans appeared on the The Nashville Network's "The George Jones Show" with George Jones, Loretta Lynn, and Billy Ray Cyrus where she performed her rendition of Patsy Cline's "Imagine That" with a full band, and her original composition "Three Chords and the Truth" while seated on a couch accompanied only by an acoustic guitar. At the conclusion of the latter Jones remarked "You gonna be big. You gonna be real big.".
In April 2004, Evans appeared as a special guest on "Nashville Star". She appeared on the game show "Million Dollar Password" in June 2008.
In September 2006, Evans joined other celebrities on ABC's Dancing with the Stars as the first country music singer on the program, with professional dancer Tony Dovolani as partner, and launching a fan web site to provide behind-the-scenes material on her participation. On October 12, 2006, Evans left the program, citing personal reasons.
Also in 2006, Evans guest starred on Jeff Foxworthy's TV show, Foxworthy's Big Night Out.
Evans made an appearance judging on HGTV Design Star in which she chose which of two redesigned rooms at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center was most like her own style. This aired on July 6, 2008
In October 2008, Evans also hosted a charity skating fundraiser, "Skating for Life". Olympic skaters skated to Evans's songs.
In March 2009, Evans hosted the ACM GAC Top New Artist Special, which launched the fan voting for the ACMs three new categories: Top New Female Vocalist, Top New Male Vocalist and Top New Vocal Duo or Group.
Evans sang "God Bless America" during the All Star Game in St Louis, Missouri on July 12, 2009.
In June 2011 Evans appeared on the Flatts Fest 2011 Tour with Rascal Flatts, Justin Moore, and Easton Corbin. Evans also sang the national Anthem at Game 2 of the 2012 NBA Finals.
In 2012, Evans made an appearance on the OWN series Lovetown, USA, which aired September 17, 2012."Sara Evans on Nashville Star". CountryWeekly.com. 2004-04-23. "Sara Plays Password". CountryWeekly.com. 2008-06-26. "Country Singer Sara Evans Cites Porn, Adultery and Abuse in Divorce Papers". ABC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. "Sara Evans To Appear On HGTV Design Star | Reality TV Magazine". Realitytvmagazine.sheknows.com. 2008-07-06. Retrieved 2013-08-18. Stelzer, Christy (2008-10-13). "Skating for Life". WMBD-TV/WYZZ. "Skating event filmed at Coliseum to air on NBC this weekend". Pantagraph. 2008-10-23. Evans to host ACM GAC Top New Artist Special  "Show review – Rascal Flatts, Sara Evans, Easton Corbin, Justin Moore – Bristow, VA – June 18, 2011". Urban Country News. Retrieved 2013-08-18. "VIDEO: Sara Evans' National Anthem Performance Wasn't The Best". SBNation.com. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
Sara Evans's Band
Current band:Sara Evans - Lead VocalsJim Bloodgood - DrumsMatt Evans - Bass/Band Leader/Harmony Vocals (Sara's brother)Billy McClaran - Fiddle/Acoustic Guitar/Harmony VocalsKris Donegan - Lead Guitar/Acoustic GuitarBrent Wilson - Lead Guitar/Acoustic Guitar/Mandolin/Harmony Vocals "Sara Evans #Simply Sara". Kaelin Evans Show. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
Evans married Craig Schelske, an aspiring politician, on September 25, 1993. They have three children: Avery Jack (born August 21, 1999), Olivia Margaret (born June 21, 2003) and Audrey Elizabeth (born October 6, 2004).
The day following Evans' departure from the Dancing with the Stars in 2006, it was disclosed that Evans had filed for divorce from Schelske. In court documents, Evans accused Schelske of being unemployed, of abusing alcohol, of infidelity (including with the family nanny), of allowing their children to interrupt Schelske's adult entertainment viewing, of maintaining sexually explicit photographs of himself and others, and of verbal abuse. Schelske denied all of his wife's claims; he explained that the "interrupted adult entertainment viewing" was inadvertent and involved both Schelske and Evans, and that his explicit photograph collection was limited to images of the married couple, and counterclaimed that Evans had numerous personal problems. Schelske also accused Evans of multiple affairs with fellow musicians and artists, including country star Kenny Chesney; a representative for Chesney called the allegations "ridiculous".
On September 28, 2007, the divorce between Evans and Schelske became final. Evans was ordered to pay Schelske $500,000 in alimony over a ten-year period, and was awarded primary custody of their three children. Subsequently, Evan's ex-nanny sued her for $3 million, claiming that Evans had smeared her name by accusing her of an affair with Schelske. The lawsuit was settled in July 2009 for $500,000.
Following their divorce, Evans obtained two temporary restraining orders against Schelske in 2010 and 2011, restricting him from making any derogatory statements about Evans or their former marriage to the media.
Schelske also sued Evans' Nashville attorney John Hollins, Sr. and his firm (Hollins, Wagster, Yarbrough, Weatherly & Raybin, P.C.) for "slander, false light and other damages" after Hollins gave an October 2006 interview to People magazine regarding Evans' divorce claims. That lawsuit resulted in an undisclosed financial settlement and a written apology from Hollins in 2011, which stated in part: "My firm and I represented Sara Evans in a highly contested divorce from Craig Schelske... to the best of my ability. I regret that my actions on behalf of Sara Evans caused Mr. Schelske harm in any way." Schelske issued a public statement thanking God, family, and friends for stating alongside during the period, and stating: "Sara is not my enemy… Hollins… he's the one who did this."
On June 14, 2008, Evans married Jay Barker, a former University of Alabama quarterback, national championship winner and current radio show host. They married in Franklin, Tennessee, with their children as their attendants. Evans and her three children now live in Mountain Brook, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama, with Barker and his children."Sara Evans Balances Superstardom With Supermom-hood". GAC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. "Country Star Sara Evans Granted Divorce". msn.com. Retrieved 2007-10-02. "Sara Evans Welcomes Daughter". CMT. Retrieved 2007-10-02. "Country Singer Sara Evans Cites Porn, Adultery and Abuse in Divorce Papers". ABC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. Craig Shelburne, 2006, CMT News, "Schelske Says Evans Cheated, Watched Porn With Him: His Divorce Papers Mention [her] Drinking Problem, "Apparent Nervous Breakdown", http://www.cmt.com/news/country-music/1543698/schelske-says-evans-cheated-watched-porn-with-him.jhtml, accessed March 20, 2014 Finn, Natalie. "Ex Accuses Sara Evans of Being Really Restless." E!Online  http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007704110474 Tennessean.com Retrieved on May 14, 2007 http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007704110474 Tennessean.com Retrieved on 05-14-07 "Sara Evans’ Former Nanny Settles Lawsuit". Theboot.com. 2009-07-16. Retrieved 2013-08-18. "Sara Evans files restraining order against her ex". USA Today. February 26, 2010. Retrieved May 23, 2010. Nancy Dunham, 2011, Sara Evans Secures Restraining Order Against Ex-Husband, http://tasteofcountry.com/sara-evans-ex-husband-restraining-order/, accessed March 20, 2014. Settlement Reached by Sara Evan's Ex-Husband in Slander Lawsuit Against Evans' Divorce Attorney, 2011, http://www.salem-news.com/articles/march472011/evans-settlement.php, accessed March 20, 2014. Written apology from Sara Evans’ attorney made public, 2011, http://blogs.tennessean.com/tunein/2011/05/05/written-apology-from-sara-evans-attorney-made-public/, accessed March 20, 2014. Sterling Whitaker, 2011, Sara Evans' divorce attorney releases letter of apology to her ex-husband, the examiner online, May 5, 2011. Sara Evans Marries Her Football Hero - Weddings, Sara Evans : People.com FIRST LOOK: Sara Evans Wedding Photo - Weddings, Music News, Sara Evans : People.com