Album Review: Sara Evans’ ‘Words’

After close to a twenty-year association with RCA, Sara Evans is now embarking on a new chapter of her long and successful career, with the launch of a new album on her own label, Born To Fly Records. It’s a bold and courageous new step for Evans, who has given Country Music fans some of the top moments of the past two decades with songs like “Born To Fly” and “No Place That Far.” But, all the artistic freedom and decision making would be all for naught if musically, this album didn’t deliver the goods.

Thankfully, Evans doesn’t have to worry about that. With Words, Evans has put together an album that could be easily interspersed with her best work, as the lyrical content and performances are on par with anything she has ever done in her career.

One of the best parts about this record is that it simply sounds good. Working again with longtime producer Mark Bright, this album is a sonic treat. There are some nice grooves all over the record, ranging from the 90s / early 2000s Pop-ish feel of the lead single “Marquee Sign,” which has served as a nice re-introduction to radio. The song just has a way of rolling effectively from one line to the next, drawing the listener in. Also in this vein are the brimming “Rain and Fire” as well as the catchy and bouncy vibe of “Diving In Deep,” which also serves as something of a metaphor of what Evans is embarking on with her own label. There’s also the traditional feel of “Long Way Down,” which is as “Country” as anything she has ever done – also a highlight!

It wouldn’t be a Sara Evans albums without a few jaw-dropping ballads, and the singer definitely delivers in this regard. Ashley Monroe’s “Make Room At The Bottom” is Evans at perhaps her most heartbreaking, complete with a vocal that will rip your heart out. “I Don’t Trust Myself” is the singer at her most tortured, knowing that she is likely going to give in to temptation whenever she gets around that person that she doesn’t need to be around, and then, there’s “Letting You Go,” a song that Evans co-wrote, inspired by her relationship with her son – who will soon be a senior. It’s a beautiful sentiment – and one that she pulls off strongly.

All in all, Words feels like a huge statement from a singer who is ready to take things to a whole new level – this time completely on her terms. Though, in the end, radio will be the judge of how commercially successful she is with that goal, from an artistic standpoint, this album more than makes that mark!