Q&A with Sara Evans, who performs Saturday
Country music is dominated by male performers and writers, and it's not every day you see an album featuring more than a dozen female songwriters.
But such is the case for country star Sara Evans' latest album, “Words.” The album topped the iTunes country chart within hours of release and debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart.
“The 14 female singer-songwriters thing was just a fluke,” Evans said. “I mean, I never like to know who wrote my songs when I'm listening for songs. I just want to see if I love the song and then I'll find out, 'Hey, who was the writer, by the way?'”
After making the record, which dropped just over a year ago, it was brought to her attention that fellow female songwriters had their hands all over her album.
Over Evans' career, she's delivered five No. 1 country singles, including “No Place That Far,” “Suds In The Bucket, “A Real Fine Place To Start,” “Born to Fly” and “A Little Bit Stronger,” which spent two weeks in the top spot and is certified platinum.
She's on the road, playing with her teenage son, Avery, who's the second lead guitarist in her band.
Evans talked about touring, the MeToo movement and advice she gives her children about working in the music industry.
Was there anything you took away from touring with openers RaeLynn and Kalie Shorr?
Definitely -- two new friendships. They are the sweetest girls and we had the best time. It was really a good opportunity for me to step into that role as mentor a little bit. I always tell people that it doesn't feel like I should be in that position yet, because I don't feel old enough, or because I'm still in the throes of my career in doing what I do and with touring all the time; and I'm making records. So it feels weird.
What are one or two big pieces of advice you have for your son's career?
I tell him -- like I tell my daughter Olivia, who's an amazing singer, and that's what she wants to pursue as well -- to be committed to it 1 million percent. It's funny, I just finished reading Maria Sharapova's book. I could relate to her so much because I started performing when I was 4. I've been on stage my whole entire life. I've always been incredibly competitive about it. I want to be the best and beat everyone. And Maria talked about that. There was nothing more she could say to describe wanting to beat everyone.
I tell my kids, and I know they have the fire, but that they have to be committed to it more than anything in the world. You can't really eff around. You can't get a girlfriend or boyfriend. You can't smoke pot and hang out all day, because there are thousands of people who won't do those things who will work harder than you, and will be better than you, if you [aren't focused].
So you have to practice every day. You have to be married to music until you get that break, and you get some success. I used to say I'm not going to have a baby until I have a No. 1 record.
Was it serendipitous that you released “Words” a few months before the MeToo movement started?
It was. There's just so much going on about women right now, especially in country music, because it's just kind of become a tragedy. Country radio literally has blackballed women and it won't play women. They'll play 40 guy songs and then one girl song. It's absolutely ridiculous, because it's hurt my career. It's hurt all my female singer friends' careers. It's been devastating. When I first came to the stage, country radio was at least half and half, if not dominated at times by women. So it's been really depressing and it's angering. I don't get it.
Why do you think women aren't getting enough play on the radio?
I blame it on Luke Bryan, even though he's a good friend of mine [laughs]. He came up with the song “Country Girl (Shake It for Me).” It was so popular that after that, every record label, manager, producer, writer and artist wanted a piece of that. So they all started inventing their own Luke Bryans and writing their own “Country Girl (Shake It for Me).”
It's just been this trend that's gone on for eight years or so. It's ridiculous, because the songs are so stupid. I don't get it. But women country fans are partly to blame, because they love it.