(CSC) 1. Thanks for your time! Lovely being here with you tonight. You have been doing Christmas tours for many years now. What do you enjoy most about performing Christmas shows and what are a few of your all-time favorite Christmas songs?
Oh, well, I love, you know, getting everybody in the Christmas spirit, and Christmas is nostalgic for everybody, and I absolutely value my relationship with God over anything in my life, even my children, and it is the most important thing. And so, the fact that we're singing about the birth of Christ and the greatest gift to ever have been given to mankind is so much joy for me and such an honor.
(CSC) 2. What are some of your fondest memories as a child celebrating Christmas and how do you carry forth those traditions with your family?
We grew up on a farm in Missouri, so we did not have a lot of money. I remember one year, my mother hired a teenage boy, and they went out and cut, like, four cords of wood, and she took them down to the local western store, and she traded that wood for clothes for us, like Levi's and boots and jeans and just doing whatever she could to make sure that we had a good Christmas always. And then our tradition was a Christmas breakfast. So, we would go to Granny and Papa's on Christmas Eve, wake up, do Christmas breakfast. My mother would make everything, homemade cinnamon rolls. I mean, just gorge yourself. And then we would go to Grandma and Grandpa Evans for afternoon lunch, and then come back home and eat again (Laughs).
(CSC) 3. What is one piece of advice that you would tell your younger self at Christmas-time that your more mature self has learned?
Not to stress about the mess, you know, because, I tend to get, I like everything to be really neat, and I like a really neat house. And yeah. And so, when I get sent, like, a big gift basket, it causes me so much anxiety because there's so much trash and all the little squiggly things. And so, I never, took it out on the kids or the family, you're like, you know, “we have to clean up now” ... But inside, I was like, oh my gosh. I wanna clean so bad!! So now I would just tell my younger self to enjoy every minute, and don't think about that.
(CSC) 4. It has been nearly 4 years since we’ve had new music from you! What are you working on musically and when can fans expect to hear it released!?
Yes!! I have a new album that I'm working on now, and I was gonna try to finish it in December, but I think I need to just go home from this tour. Take a long break, and then in January, finish the record. But the record is different than anything I've ever done. I thought I was gonna make a really country like, ultra country record, and it's turning out to be more like a Daisy Jones & The Six record. And that always happens, I never know (how it will turn out), but I did write every song on the project, so I'm really proud of that!
(CSC) 5. This past year you celebrated the 20th anniversary of your album “Restless” with a sold-out show at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville (TN). How much fun was that night and what was it like revisiting those songs in such a special setting?
It was amazing. “Restless”, is you know, you could arguably say that's my best album ever, and not just because it has “Suds in the Bucket” on it, because “Suds in the Bucket” is an outlier and a song that I had to fight my label to let me put it on the record. Just the quality I think of that whole album is incredible, and it was very intentional. We worked so hard because we had to follow-up “Born to Fly”. So, we knew that we needed to make something spectacular. And so, yeah, that whole night was amazing, and I could see all of my family. Singing at the Ryman anytime is Incredible. So, you know, the Opry is incredible, but the Ryman is even one step more incredible! (Laughs).
(CSC) 6. Congratulations on becoming the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry family! I cannot imagine what was going on inside your mind when Bill Anderson surprised you on stage at the Ryman! Did you have any idea or were you totally shocked?!
I had a little bit of an idea once, you know, he came out on stage, then I started putting two and two together and then I just knew… that was always a source of a little bit of contention because they put a lot of other female artists in before me that came up after me, nobody could figure out why, everybody was furious, like, my mother has been so mad about that for years. So, I was like, surely, this is happening tonight (Laughs).
Enjoy PART II of our interview with SARA EVANS below;
(CSC) 7. You’re currently in the studio working on the new album, what have been some highlights thus far on this new musical journey?!
Well, we are actually done! I was just listening to it because we have to close the mixes out and get it to mastering. And so, I was just thinking about that, like, wow, this album is complete! First of all, I wrote every song on the record except one. And most of the album and the songs are me speaking about my journey with Jay, and you know, what we've been through over the past several years. And gosh, I just started crying because I feel like the record is so great and I don't mean that weird, but it's not just me, it’s the work that the musicians did.
You know, my daughter and I worked super hard and did all the harmony parts, and my son Avery played on several of the songs doing lead guitar, but the album is really rock and roll. I mean, I would say there's like two songs on there that are typical stone-cold country, like, Sara Evans, but the rest of it is literally my journey; what we went through, our separation, me filing for divorce, and then us getting back together, so it's the most personal album that I've ever written and recorded.
(CSC) I give you a lot of credit for being so strong because a lot of people nowadays are so quick to resort to divorce.
Thank you. Yeah, we're gonna be in marriage counseling for the rest of our lives. And we've committed that to each other. But it was something because, you know, I've already been divorced and I didn't ever want to be divorced ever in my life, and never thought about that, you know, when I was a kid growing up, but both times it was a necessary evil, except the difference in this one was that I did truly believe in my heart that there could be change. And that's not always the case, you know, when there's levels of abuse and things that happen, but I just couldn't give up. He raised my children and adopted them. I wanted to do everything I could to not give up, but we got to the brink, I will tell you that.
I saw this thing on TV last night where there's this new trend to celebrate people's glow ups after their divorces, and I'm like, that's just disgusting. It's terrible. And, you know, sometimes, like I said, it has to happen because there's either danger, you know, mentally, physically, or spiritually, whatever, but if you're just, you know, divorcing because you're just giving up, it's sad. If you’re a child of divorce, which I am, you understand even more that it’s really, really, really, really difficult on the children and it causes wounds that sometimes, you know, can't ever heal and also can lead to other problems in life.
(CSC) 8. What are some of the highlights and special moments that come to mind from the night of your Grand Ole Opry induction (October 7th, 2023)?
Recently we went to the Opry and did a private corporate show for Dairy Queen. And I went in there and I swear to you, this is going to sound silly, but it felt different to me being at the Opry. I was like, oh my gosh, I am on the wall and I truly, truly belong here. Like, this is also my home along with all the other people that have been inducted. You know, it took a long time. I mean, I have no idea why it took so long.
I was just telling somebody else in an interview that I was starting to get to the point where I felt, well, if they don't want me, I don’t even care, I don't even want it. Because I would see these new, especially women, you know, that were 15 years behind me coming in and it’s just like everything else.
I don't know the reasons why, but I took it very personally. So now that it's finally done and I am a member, it's just kind of a weight off my shoulders. It just makes me feel like, okay, stop worrying about that now. So, it feels good!
(CSC) Well, the unique thing is, people like yourself and Trisha Yearwood and some of the other people that were around your era, you girls were the first slew of artists to have people like Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and Dolly Parton kind of put you under their wings!
Yeah, and I would have been mortified if, let's just say I moved to town and they made me a member of the Opry before Reba. I would have said no, you know. Carly Pierce, you know, she became a member before me. But when they were on stage, they were all very sweet, Lady A and Carly Pierce. When Bill Anderson said, you know, we all would like to invite you to become a member of the Opry, they all kind of made this motion like, no, we're not, we're not asking, you know, like, we don't deserve to be asking you that so I thought that was pretty cool.
(CSC) 9. Your children perform with you in your band. Being a close-knit family, what valuable lessons “business wise” have you instilled in them?
To have a prenup (Laughing). Not everybody realizes that intellectual property is considered marital property. And, that is devastating when you have to divorce and the person gets half of all the songs that you wrote for the rest of their lives. Yeah, so get a prenup, and again pray to God no one ever gets divorced, but at least it's there. If, you know, something crazy happened.
And then, I think mostly too, just work your ass off. You cannot make it in this business unless you're willing to work really hard and all the time. Because someone is going to take it. You know, as we've learned from watching my career, even if you do work hard and make it and all that, people still will jump ahead of you. So, you have to be willing to work very hard.
(CSC) 10. You have your own CBD line “Born To Fly – CBD by Sara Evans.” What inspired you to create your own CBD products and how did that all come together?
They came to me with all this documentation about how it really is helpful and I agree with that, you know, like if you have muscle pain and stuff like that. It really does work to use the roll-on stuff. And it just sort of like, numbs the pain, you know, and it's really helpful. It really does help. I’m not really big into doing anything that makes me feel weird. So, when I tried the drops, I was so nervous but it doesn’t make you feel weird at all.
And it’s not marijuana. You know people get that confused all the time and has nothing to do with that. But I did it, and, you know, we didn't do well with that, like, nobody bought it from me, and I'm not sure why. You know, part of it was COVID, and we weren't able to go to New York and hit all the TV shows, and we weren't able to properly promote it.
(CSC) You should re-launch it!!
(Sara Evans) Yeah! I was just talking to them about that. We’re going to try to re-launch it when we go and promote the new record!
(CSC) Or you could partner with Willie Nelson! That would be a different CBD oil! (Laughing)
(Sara Evans) Yeah (laughing) exactly (laughing). That would be a whole new thing.
(CSC) 11. When you reflect back to the release of your 1997 debut album, “Three Chords and the Truth” to where you’re at now, what lesson or experience do you credit to your personal growth as a singer/songwriter?
My goal has always been to keep getting better and better and better, and never feel like, you know, oh, you'll never top “Born to Fly,” or you'll never be where you were, you know, when that came out, or you'll never be able to do that again. I'm so competitive, and so when I hear a new artist come out, I'm like, I'm going to make a record that's better than that. And that's always been my attitude. It's not without obstacles because God has always given me great obstacles to overcome. Nothing has ever been easy for me, except the gift of singing. But aside from that, I've never been that person that just, you know, comes out with a single and then your next single hits, and your next single hits. I mean, country radio has always made me work twice as hard as anybody else to get what others seem to get easily, but that's been good for me.
(CSC) 12. You’ll be performing in beautiful Key West Florida at the Key Western Fest alongside a pretty fantastic lineup of 90s female country artists!! What are you most looking forward to and being an outspoken advocate for women in country music – how are you feeling about that right now?!?
Well, I feel like I should have closed the show and Lee Ann opened for me, but other than that (Laughing), ‘cause I'm still doing it. I'm still making records and touring and stuff, but no, I love Lee Ann's music. I really do. She's amazing.
I think it's great. I mean, it's unbelievably, and I feel like this is happening all over the world. Women are being erased. You know, it's like, you're making women compete against obstacles that are just impossible. And for the last 10 to 15 years, we've been doing it in country music too. I’m like, what in the world is going on! You know, a lot of people like to call themselves “progressive”, but they’re really things that are taking us backwards.
When I came onto the scene, it was half women. Myself, Martina, Lee Ann, LeAnn Rimes, Trisha Yearwood, Faith Hill, The Judds, Patty Loveless, Reba, we were all competing against each other. Now, if you look at the Top 50, you might see (3) women in the top 50. So once again, it’s just hypocritical. How can you say that you’re for anything progressive when you’re making women compete in some of these areas?
(CSC) It would be cool if you ladies would do another “Girls Night Out” tour like you did in 2001 with Reba. Have her re-boot it!
(Sara Evans) It was so fun! We could do that, but that doesn't mean that. Because we're all touring constantly now anyway. I mean, a lot of us are. And, you know, that's the only way you make money. But, even if we did that, that would not ensure that we would be back on mainstream country radio. And you can say all you want about, you know, well, there's all these other platforms where you can get your music out there.
No, if you're not being played on mainstream country radio, you're not being nominated for CMA Awards or ACM Awards, you might as well not exist. You know, and I believe that's the same with television. You know, even though television is kind of a dying thing, but still, if you hit it big, like on a reality show, or if you're a contestant on The Bachelor, you all of a sudden have 800,000 followers on TikTok. So, I still believe that those two outlets are the main ones.
Look at Kacey Musgraves, and she had not only one of the best albums in a decade, they never played her, I mean they never played “Slowburn” on mainstream country radio. The sounds in that album, the lyrics and all that, it was incredible and it deserved to be played. But country radio never touched it. - end
Enjoy a slideshow with pictures from the interview below and a video greeting with Sara Evans!