is a study in contrasts: a smooth-skinned looker hailed by People Magazine
as one of the world's most beautiful people, yet one who travels with her three kids; the wife of a politician who prefers farm life to dwelling in a capital city; and a deeply spiritual woman with an occasionally bawdy sense of humor.
Accompanying her personal dichotomies, Evans' recording career has traveled a wide course: She was hailed as a country traditionalist when she made her recording debut in 1997 but freely explored pop and rock influences in her ensuing albums.
Sara was born the third of seven children and grew up in a Missouri farming community, where she sang in a family band by the age of five. In 1991, she moved to Nashville, where she met fellow musician Craig Schelske, who became the centerpiece of her second family.
They moved to Oregon in 1992, married in '93, and returned to Music City in 1995, where she was guided by songwriting legend Harlan Howard toward receptive ears at RCA.
Her first album, Three Chords And The Truth, produced by Dwight Yoakam's then-guitarist Pete Anderson, earned her critical acclaim and even the praises of Country Music Hall of Famer George Jones. But its retro-leaning sound didn't quite catch the ears of mainstream country radio.
It did catch the ears of her contemporaries, though. As a result, her sophomore album, No Place That Far, featured guest appearances by Vince Gill, Martina McBride, George Jones, Alison Krauss, Dan Tyminski and former O'Kanes member Jamie O'Hara. The title track also brought her first legitimate hit.
Her third album, Born To Fly, took some creative risks, but paid off handsomely, garnering four hit singles, her first double-platinum album and a bevy of awards nominations. It also demonstrated a bit of independent savvy. She insisted on hiring Seattle-based rock drummer Matt Chamberlain (The Wallflowers, Edie Brickell), who brought a slightly different sound to her music.
Born To Fly was nominated for CMA Album of the Year in 2001, and her follow-up, Restless, received an ACM nomination in the spring of 2005, while Evans was working on Real Fine Place, which brought yet another non-Nashville musician to the core of her studio band. When Glenn Worf, the A-list bass player on the session, picked up a road gig with Mark Knopfler, she placed a call to David LaBruyere, who'd worked with Chamberlain on John Mayer's most recent album. The result is a CD that stretches country's conventions a bit, allowing Evans to further establish her own unique sound.
As Evans tours behind Real Fine Place, she now has three kids in tow (Avery was born in August 1999, Olivia arrived in January 2003 and Audrey in October 2004) as she lives out those contrasts that are so much a part of Sara Evans' existence: the homebody who chews up mileage on a tour bus, the devoted mom who's also a glamorous award-winner.