Sara Evans

Sara Evans
Sara Evans

Sara Evans in 2011, Charlotte NC
Background information
Birth name Sara Lynn Evans
Born February 5, 1971 (1971-02-05) (age 40)
Boonville, Missouri, U.S.
Genres Country
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1992–present
Labels RCA Records Nashville
Associated acts Vince Gill, Lee Ann Womack, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood, LeAnn Rimes, Mindy McCready

Sara Lynn Evans (play /ˈsɛərə/; born February 5, 1971) is an American country singer and songwriter.

Evans was one of the few traditional-styled singers to emerge from Nashville in the late 1990s, according to Allmusic. Since emerging in the late 1990s, Evans has made five No. 1 Country hits and Gold and Platinum-certified albums by the RIAA, like 2003's Restless and 2005's Real Fine Place. Her 2000 album, Born to Fly was certified Double-Platinum.



Early life and the rise to fame

Evans was born in Boonville, Missouri, in 1971, and is of Welsh, English, and Irish descent. She was raised on a farm near New Franklin, MO, the eldest girl of seven children. By five she was singing weekends in her family's band. At age 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.[1] 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.[2]

In 1997, Evans released her first album for RCA, Three Chords and the Truth. Critics praised the album for returning to traditional country and included it in many of their yearly "Top 10" lists. The video for "Three Chords and the Truth", directed by Susan Johnson, was nominated for awards from Billboard Magazine, CMT, and the MVPA. The album included a cover version of an older Country song, Patsy Cline's "Imagine That", which originally reached No. 21 for Cline on the country charts in 1962. None of the three singles made the top 40. It would be another year before Evans gained full popularity. In 1998 Evans released her second album, No Place That Far. Critics slammed her on choosing a more pop-country sound. Her first single, "Cryin' Game", hardly made a ripple on the charts but the music video, which re-teamed Evans with director Susan Johnson, did very well in rotation. However, it was her next single, "No Place That Far", a duet with Vince Gill, that brought her massive success, reaching #1 on the Country charts, as well as the Billboard Hot 100 Top 40. Because of its success, the album was certified "Gold" by the RIAA.

Breakthrough: the Born to Fly and Restless albums

In 2000, Evans worked on a third album to be released later that year. The album, Born to Fly, was released to stores on October 10, 2000, and later became another major-selling album. She insisted on hiring Seattle-based rock drummer Matt Chamberlain (The Wallflowers, Edie Brickell), who brought a different sound to her music.[3] The album became Evans' first album to receive a "Platinum" rating by the RIAA, and spawned four country hits, including the title track ("Born to Fly") which was the first single released from the album, reaching the No. 1 spot on the Country charts, Evans' first No. 1 as a solo artist. Hits continued from the album all the way into 2002. After "Born to Fly", the second single, "I Could Not Ask for More", was released in 2001, the country version of Edwin McCain's big pop–rock hit from the year before. Evans' version reached No. 2 on the country charts and was a No. 35 Pop hit, ironically an even bigger Pop hit than McCain's version on Billboard's Hot 100 (McCain's version reached No. 37). In 2002, songs continued to be released from the album; "Saints and Angels" and "I Keep Looking" were the last two singles released from the album. "I Keep Looking" reached No. 5 and "Saints and Angels" reached No. 16. In 2004, the Born to Fly album was officially certified 2× Platinum by the RIAA.

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 award from Country music.

In 2003, Evans recorded a long-awaited fourth album, which was titled Restless. The album was released August 19, 2003 to stores. The first single released from the album in 2003, "Back Seat of a Greyhound Bus", was a Top 20 Country hit, reaching No. 16 on the Hot Country Songs list that year, but it did not hit the Billboard Hot 100, peaking outside it on the Bubbling Hot 100. Despite the album's first single not reaching the Top 10, the album still sold fairly well, debuting at No. 3 on the "Top Country Albums" list and the No. 20 on the "Billboard 200" list, and sold over 40,000 copies within its first week. However it was the album's next single, "Perfect" that broke Country's Top 10, eventually peaking in the top 5 at No. 2, barely missing Country's top spot. The third single from the album, "Suds in the Bucket", was the album's most successful single; it became Evans' third Number One hit and was also a Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Additionally, it was Evans' first ever Gold-certified single by the RIAA. The album's fourth and final single, "Tonight", failed to reach the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.

Restless received a nomination in the 2005 Academy of Country Music Awards.

Success of the Real Fine Place album and Greatest Hits

After 2003's Restless album, Evans re-emerged with a fifth studio album titled Real Fine Place, released October 4, 2005. The album's lead single, "A Real Fine Place to Start," reached No. 1 on the Country charts in 2005, as well as reaching the Pop Top 40 at No. 38. The single marked the first time Evans charted on Billboard's "Pop 100" and "Hot Digital Songs" chart, reaching No. 67 and No. 62 respectively. "A Real Fine Place" was another Gold-certified single by the RIAA. The album sold 130,000 copies within its first week, becoming Evans' first album to reach the No. 1 spot on the "Top Country Albums" chart, while also becoming her most successful album on the "Billboard 200" to date, reaching No. 3. The album sold three times more copies than her previous album had done in their first weeks. On December 6, 2005, Evans released the compilation album Feels Like Home through Cracker Barrel stores. The album contains remixes of some of her most popular songs, including a live version of "Born to Fly" and an acoustic version of "No Place That Far". In 2005 the album's follow-up single "Cheatin'" was a top 10 Country hit, peaking at No. 9 there. The third single released from the album, "Coalmine", was the least successful single, just about breaking Billboard's Country Top 40 chart in early 2006.

Sara Evans in 2007

In 2006, R&R announced Evans as the "Female Vocalist of the Year" in its 2006 Readers' Poll. In spring 2006, Evans released Always There through Hallmark stores for Mothers' Day. The album has six of her favorite already-released songs, including a live version of "Suds in the Bucket" and an acoustic version of "Born to Fly". Two new songs are on the disc: "You Ought to Know by Now" and "Brooklyn & Austin".[4] In 2006, the last significant single from the Real Fine Place album was released, titled "You'll Always Be My Baby", which was a Top 20 Country hit, but missing Billboard's Hot 100, reaching a peak position on the Bubbling Hot 100 at #105. An album cut released from the album in 2006, "Missing Missouri", reached No. 52 on the Country charts that year. On May 23, 2006, Evans competed and performed at the 2006 ACM awards show in Las Vegas, where she won her first ACM for the "Top Female Vocalist". 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.[5] She also hosted a charity event, Fashion for Every Body, which featured a fashion show, silent auction and performance by Evans.[6]

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 20 hit on the country charts. Evans released the gift book You'll Always Be My Baby (based on her song). It was written by Evans, Tony Martin and Tom Shapiro.[7] It was announced on October 15, 2007, that Evans would host the 41st annual CMA Awards show with LeAnn Rimes on November 7, 2007.[8]

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.[9]

Stronger and career today

The single "Low" (sung by Sara Evans) was released to radio on September 29, 2008, to promote Billy: The Early Years (for the movie released October 10).[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 before returning for a second week in January 2009 at the same position.

A book called Sweet By and By, written by Evans with author Rachel Hauck, was released on January 5, 2010.[11][12] It is the first release of a four-book deal inked with Thomas Nelson Fiction. The second book is Softly and Tenderly, and was released January 14, 2011,[13] with the following third and fourth books to be released 2012 and 2013.[14]

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",[15] 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' 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.[16]

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.[17]

During Evans' 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.[18] 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. The video for "A Little Bit Stronger" hit number one on the GAC top 20 country video countdown on May 20, 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.

She released "My Heart Can't Tell You No", her second single from Stronger, to radio on June 20, 2011.[19]

Television work

In April 2004, Evans appeared as a special guest on "Nashville Star".[20] She appeared on the game show "Million Dollar Password" in June 2008.[21]

In September 2006, Evans began competing with other celebrities on the third season of ABC's Dancing with the Stars with (professional) partner Tony Dovolani. Evans launched a new fan web site to provide behind-the-scenes material from her participation on the program. Evans was the first country music singer to ever participate in the show. However, she chose to withdraw from the competition due to her divorce.

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[22]

In October 2008, Evans also hosted a charity skating fundraiser, "Skating for Life". Olympic skaters skated to Evans' songs.[23][24]

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.[25]

Evans sang "God Bless America" during the All Star Game in St Louis, Missouri on July 12, 2009.[26]

In June 2011 Evans appeared on the Flatts Fest 2011 Tour with Rascal Flatts, Justin Moore, and Easton Corbin.

Sara Evans' Band

Current band:[27]

  • Sara Evans - Lead Vocals
  • Jim Bloodgood - Drums
  • Matt Evans - Bass/Band Leader/Harmony Vocals (Sara's brother)
  • Lesley Evans Lyons - Harmony Vocals (Sara's sister)
  • Ashley Evans Simpson - Harmony Vocals (Sara's sister)
  • Jonathan Lawson - Fiddle/Acoustic Guitar/Harmony Vocals
  • Justin Butler - Lead Guitar/Acoustic Guitar
  • Brent Wilson - Lead Guitar/Acoustic Guitar/Mandolin/Harmony Vocals

Personal life

Evans endorsed former Senator Fred Thompson for president in 2008

Evans married Craig Schelske, an aspiring politician, on September 25, 1993,[28] and divorced in September 2007.[29] Evans and Schelske have three children: Avery Jack (born August 21, 1999), Olivia Margaret (born January 22, 2003)[30] and Audrey Elizabeth (born October 6, 2004).

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.[31][32] Evans and her three children now live in Mountain Brook, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama, with Barker and his children.


On October 12, 2006, Evans left Dancing with the Stars, citing personal reasons, and the following day it was revealed that Evans had filed for divorce from her husband of 13 years, Craig Schelske.[33] Documents filed by Evans' husband accused the singer of having close to a dozen affairs, including singer/songwriter Richard Marx, country star Kenny Chesney, Dancing with the Stars partner Tony Dovolani, various members of Evans' band, and four of the five members of the rock band 3 Doors Down. A representative for Chesney called the allegations "ridiculous,"[34] and Kirt Webster, a spokesman for the rock band 3 Doors Down, stated that the accusations are "ludicrous" and "untrue" and that the band members "are saddened by what she's going through." [35]

On September 28, 2007, the divorce between Evans and Schelske became final. Evans will pay him a minimum of $500,000 in alimony over a ten-year period. Evans was awarded custody of their three children with visitation rights to Schelske.[29]

An ex-nanny of Evans', Alison Clinton Lee, sued her for $3 million,[36] claiming that Evans has smeared her name by including it in her divorce papers as one of the many women Evans claims her husband had affairs with.[37] The case was settled in July 2009, for $500,000.[38]

On February 25, 2010, Evans obtained a restraining order against Schelske. Documents say Schelske is not allowed to make any derogatory statements about Evans to the media or make allegations about what led to their divorce.[39]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Result
1997 Billboard Music Video Awards Best Country New Artist Video of the Year Won
1999 Country Music Association Awards Vocal Event of the Year Nominated
Horizon Award Nominated
2000 Country Music Association Awards Horizon Award Nominated
2001 Country Music Association Awards Video of the Year for "Born to Fly" Won
Single of the Year for "Born to Fly" Nominated
Song of the Year for "Born to Fly" Nominated
Album of the Year for Born to Fly Nominated
Female Vocalist of the Year Nominated
2002 Academy of Country Music Awards Top Female Vocalist Nominated
Country Music Association Awards Female Vocalist of the Year Nominated
2004 Country Music Association Awards Female Vocalist of the Year Nominated
CMT Flameworthy Awards Female Video of the Year for "Perfect" Nominated
BMI Country Awards 50 Most Performed Country Songs Award for "Perfect" Won
2005 CMT Music Awards Hottest Video of the Year for "Suds in the Bucket" Nominated
Academy of Country Music Awards Top Female Vocalist Nominated
Album of the Year for Restless Nominated
Country Music Association Awards Musical Event of the Year for "New Again" (with Brad Paisley) Nominated
Female Vocalist of the Year Nominated
2006 CMT Music Awards Female Video of the Year for "A Real Fine Place To Start" Nominated
R&R Female Vocalist of the Year Won
Academy of Country Music Awards Top Female Vocalist Won
Country Music Association Awards Female Vocalist of the Year Nominated
2007 CMT Music Awards Female Video of the Year for "You'll Always Be My Baby" Nominated
BMI Country Awards 50 Most Performed Country Songs Award for "You'll Always Be My Baby" Won
2008 BMI Country Awards 50 Most Performed Country Songs for "As If" Won
2010 Dove Awards Special Event Album for Glory Revealed II: The Word of God In Worship Won
2011 CMT Music Awards Female Video of the Year for "A Little Bit Stronger" Nominated
Country Music Association Awards Female Vocalist of the Year Nominated
Single of the Year for "A Little Bit Stronger" Nominated
American Music Awards Favorite Country Female Artist Nominated


Studio Albums
Compilation album


  1. ^ "Bubbly Beauty". Country Weekly. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  2. ^ Sharpe, Jerry (January 28, 2001). "Music Preview: Sara Evans finds formula for country radio success". Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  3. ^ Sara Evans biography at Great American Country
  4. ^ "Sara Evans Featured on Mother's Day CD". CMT. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  5. ^ "Sara Evans: "Diet Is A Four Letter Word"". GAC.,,GAC_26063_4774112,00.html. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  6. ^ "Sara Evans Hosts Fashion For Every Body". GAC.,,GAC_26063_4926668,00.html. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  7. ^ "Sara Evans' Latest Hit Made Into a Book". CMT. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  8. ^ "Reba McEntire to Sing Duet on CMA Awards". CMT. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  9. ^ McCarthy, Daniel (2008-09-22) Ron Paul’s Party, The American Conservative
  10. ^ Newspapers, McClatchy (2008-08-11). "Billy Graham biopic shows at Bible belt churches ahead of October release". Guardian (London). Retrieved May 23, 2010. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ Sara releases her first book 'The Sweet By and By' today!
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ Sara Evans Announces Plans for New Single During Fan Club Party
  16. ^ Sara Evans Brings Songs to Soap Operas
  17. ^
  18. ^ Sara Evans Gets Up Close and Very Personal With Fans
  19. ^ "Single Releases". MusicRow. 2011-06-20. Retrieved 2011-06-06. 
  20. ^ "SARA EVANS ON NASHVILLE STAR". 2004-04-23. 
  21. ^ "Sara Plays Password". 2008-06-26. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ Stelzer, Christy (2008-10-13). "Skating for Life". WMBD-TV/WYZZ. 
  24. ^ "Skating event filmed at Coliseum to air on NBC this weekend". Pantagraph. 2008-10-23. 
  25. ^ Evans to host ACM GAC Top New Artist Special
  26. ^ [1]
  27. ^ [2]
  28. ^ "Sara Evans Balances Superstardom With Supermom-hood". GAC.,,GAC_26068_4740202,00.html. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  29. ^ a b "Country Star Sara Evans Granted Divorce". Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  30. ^ "Sara Evans Welcomes Daughter". CMT. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  31. ^ Sara Evans Marries Her Football Hero - Weddings, Sara Evans :
  32. ^ FIRST LOOK: Sara Evans Wedding Photo - Weddings, Music News, Sara Evans :
  33. ^ "Country Singer Sara Evans Cites Porn, Adultery and Abuse in Divorce Papers". ABC. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  34. ^ Finn, Natalie. "Ex Accuses Sara Evans of Being Really Restless." E!Online [3]
  35. ^ "Joe Nichols Marries by Candlelight in an old Georgia Chapel". The Tennessean. Retrieved 2007-09-15. [dead link]
  36. ^ Retrieved on May 14, 2007
  37. ^ Retrieved on 05-14-07
  38. ^
  39. ^ "Sara Evans files restraining order against her ex". USA Today. February 26, 2010. Retrieved May 23, 2010. 

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