Interview: Sara Evans Returns to Her Roots With ‘Copy That’
Sara Evans wanted to show her classic country roots and contemporary influences on her new Copy That album, but most of all she wanted to let fans know where she came from. The 13-song collection drops Friday (May 15) and includes covers of well known songs by Hank Williams, John Mayer, the Wallflowers, Fleetwood Mac and the Bee Gees.
Talking to Taste of Country Nights from her home in Alabama, Evans — who's quarantined with her family, plus country trio Temecula Road (more on that shortly) — said she believes she's created an album that's perfect for right now.
"Everybody is just kind of lost," she says, speaking of the socially distant lifestyle. "This is an album that no one is going to have to take the time to learn. You can put it in and immediately know it."
Those who've been reaching for lighter forms of entertainment while locked down amid the coronavirus will appreciate it. The depth of the album comes in why Evans chose to record it. The 2000s country mainstay first grabbed the music community's attention at age 26, when her Three Chords and the Truth album dropped on RCA Records. Songs from the following two albums, No Place That Far and Born to Fly, would become her first real hits, and over the next two decades she'd consistently reach the top spots on country music's airplay charts. Copy That starts before all of that.
"I started in a covers band with my brothers when I was just four years old," Evans says early in the Facebook Live video interview and performance below. "So I spent my entire life singing in bar bands and playing for wedding dances and at fairs and festivals and opening for signed artists. When you’re an unsigned artist, you have to do cover tunes, especially in bars."
Evans admits she always prided herself in choosing familiar, but still surprising covers and perhaps tweaking each in small ways to take ownership. That happens across Copy That, an album that's as surprising as it is fun to listen to. "Come on Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners is probably a signature track, but she reaches way back to satisfy her traditional soul.
“With 'I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry,' I wanted to show my roots," she says, speaking of the Williams classic. "That’s how I started out singing, was that real old-timey country.”
"All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye" is not one of John Mayer's hits. The song from his 2009 album Battle Studies is one Mayer enthusiasts appreciate, but if you haven't poured into his catalog, you may not know it. That was intentional — as a big fan of the pop-singer-songwriter, Evans explains that she didn't want to pick the obvious song for her first covers album. She wanted to try something a little cooler. This song also has a personal connection.
"It’s a song that’s really special to me and Jay (husband Jay Barker) because I used to always leave after we got married," Evans recalls. "Like the kids and I would take off on the bus and he couldn’t always go, and one time he said, ‘You know, this is really our song.'"
"All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye" is one of three songs (along with "Monday Morning" and "Crazy Love") Evans performs during this Facebook Live session. That's her daughter Olivia, son Avery and Temecula Road's Emma Salute singing backup. Avery and Emma are dating, so the whole group has joined the Evans/Barker gang for the time being.
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