Country music star Sara Evans is not only gorgeous, but the lady knows how to sing. What’s more, she also knows when to let her band stretch out on whatever tunes she sings. And that makes all the difference because it’s not only about her, it’s about the ensemble sound.
Let’s get real here: country music is more reminiscent of ’70s rock and contemporary pop than it is of the ’50 vintage Hank Williams or Patsy Cline variety of country music. These days, country music rocks, fusing contemporary sounds to the classic pedal-steel guitar anchor. All twangs aside, it’s got its soulful ballads and bluegrass flavorings; it’s got verve and spunk. And it’s got Sara Evans, who embodies it all.
She hasn’t put out an album of new material in five years, but for the first date of her holiday tour on Thursday, she showcased the quieter “A Little Bit Stronger,” from her upcoming album, “Stronger,” slated for release in March. And, of course, she had had plenty of catalog hits to draw from, too – “Born to Fly,” “A Real Place to Start” and “I Could Not Ask for More” – singing straight to the true fans’ hearts and ears this time around and adding legions of new converts along the way.
And while she did a fine job with her own music, she was even more successful with the holiday portion of the show, which followed the hits. Surrounded by a quartet of Christmas trees around the stage, Evans gracefully tackled the classic carols – “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “O Holy Night” – as well as more secular holiday fare, such as “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and a revved-up rockabilly rendition of “Blue Christmas.”
Let us just say that from her gold high-heels to her matador red blouse, Sara Evans gave it her all at Proctors. Fans sang along to the hits and even got up from their seats to dance.
Up-and-coming roots-Americana foursome Tin Cup Gypsy opened the show with a handful of tunes that saw them stretching from gospel and blues to countrypolitan pop. This country-inspired quartet is going places, and kudos to Sara Evans for presenting them as an opening act for her delightful show.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Excerpt from Michael Hochanadel’s review at The Daily Gazette: “She noted Thursday was her first holiday show on the road this season, and she admitted some nervousness. She hadn’t rehearsed enough. Ironically, road rust seemed to have frosted her somewhat icy stage persona in the first set, her hits, more than in the second, holiday favorites.”