After nearly twenty years with RCA Records, Sara Evans found herself a free agent in the Fall of 2015. As it turned out, there were several options on the table for her recording services. She was very close to signing a new deal, when she decided to try a new direction – her own label.
“I was going to do a deal with Rounder Records, but then things changed over there, and the timing wasn’t right anymore,” she admitted to Sounds Like Nashville. “That was when we decided to just do it – right then. I remember my manager calling and saying, ‘I think I pretty much know the answer to this, but what do you want to call the label? You really need to give me an answer. I said ‘Born To Fly Records.’ ‘Born To Fly’ – the song and the phrase has so much meaning to me,” she said of the song that became a number one hit for her in 2000.
The first album on the label, Words, will hit retail this Friday (July 21). The project was led off by her new single, the captivating “Marquee Sign,” which has the same feel of many of her hits from the early 2000s. She says that’s for a good reason.
“It’s Matt Chamberlain on drums, and he is an amazing drummer who is really famous in the rock world. I’m the first one to ever call him to Nashville. I heard the ‘Wallflowers’ album, and I was really curious as to who the drummer was, because I play drums and guitar. I’m really a musician in terms of choosing who I want for the record. I hunted him down, and he played on ‘Born To Fly’ and all my records since then. With ‘Marquee Sign’, he just has this certain groove. I co-wrote it with Jimmy Robbins and Heather Morgan. We chose it for the single because there’s both really Country stuff and really Pop stuff on this record, and ‘Marquee Sign’ is somewhere in the middle. I felt it was the best representation of what the album is – that would get people the most excited.”
One track from Words that she’s particularly excited about is the sensual touch of “I Don’t Trust Myself,” of which she says, “To me, that’s a typical, down the middle Sara Evans song. It’s so sexy, about wanting someone you can’t have, someone who is bad for you, and for some reason as human beings, we are fascinated with the temptation of someone. It’s about trying to be good, and trying to stay away from them. I absolutely love the song.”
She’s equally passionate – although for a much different reason – about the heartfelt “Letting You Go,” which she penned with Emily Shackleton and Victoria Banks. “It’s really hard for me to even talk about the song. You don’t make an album every year, and I knew that Avery is about to be a senior, and he would have graduated by the time I started another record. So, if I was going to write a song about him, this was the album to do it. We wrote it, and the two other writers were both women – and we sobbed the entire time we were writing the song. We were talking about how it sucks that time goes by so fast, and what happened to my babies? He’s still my little boy, still my son, but he’s a young man now. It’s getting to the point where we just won’t have that same type of relationship that we did when he was two years old and sleeping in the back room of the bus with mommy, and traveling with me everywhere. The second verse really gets me where I say that ‘I get it. All of your life I have prepared you to leave.’ Time is not our friend, and life just flies by. It’s gut-wrenching, especially if you have a child who is about ready to leave home. It’s devastating, but it’s a good pain.”
But, the album is not all about heavy subjects or emotions. There’s a definite fun bounce to “Diving In Deep,” which she says fits her like a glove. “You can’t have an entire album of ‘Letting You Go.’ ‘Diving In Deep’ is like coming up for air among some of the more heavy songs. Anytime that I look for a song like this, one that is light-hearted, I’m still very particular about it. It has to be really cool musically. The song has an amazing melody, and it’s just fun. It’s not rocket science. ‘I want to know you, and I love you, and I’m not holding anything back. I’m going to dive in deep with you now.”
The song is also very symbolic of where Evans is in her career right now. In the past few years, the singer has diversified her talents, with a successful book, blog, and a new wine, the Sara Evans Signature Series 2014 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
Evans will take her new music on the road later this week when she brings her live show to Catoosa, OK (July 20) and Fort Worth, TX (July 21).