Sara Evans will tape her concert live at North Central College on Oct. 28.
♦ 8 p.m. Oct. 27; 6 p.m. Oct. 28
♦ North Central College, 310 E. Benton
♦ Tickets, $55-$70
Take off the high heels and makeup and country music star Sara Evans can quite easily transform into just another ponytailed mom trying to keep everything from crashing down around her. Heading a blended family of seven children with football-star-turned-sportscaster-turned-hubby Jay Barker, Evans’ real life reads much like some sort of network sitcom.
“We have these weekly webisodes on our website and YouTube channel called “Simply Sara,” and yes, they show the fans what my life really is like,” she says laughing over the phone, from her Alabama home. “I’ve been doing this for a long time though, so I’m used to figuring out what I can and can’t do. My life is so crazy and full that it can be challenging and there are times when I struggle with a bit of anxiety. It’s those times that I have to stop and pray. Luckily, I’ve learned to say no to certain things and always put my family first. Being a wife and a mother is my first job — singing is my second job.”
Performing at North Central College’s Pfeiffer Hall Oct. 27-28, Evans recently announced that her Sunday evening performance will be taped live for AXS TV. “(AXS TV) approached us about doing it and we decided [North Central College] would be a great venue,” says Evans, who will have the kids along for the ride to her weekend stint in Naperville. “I love watching live concerts myself. I have been doing this for so many years, so performing live really doesn’t faze me anymore. I would say there is definitely a switch that flips when I go out on stage. Let’s just say I’ll try to do extra good on this one.”
As if that is a challenge.
A native of New Franklin, Mo., Evan’s voice has been recognized as one of country music’s treasures since first breaking into the industry back in 1996. She has long been a sweetheart of country radio thanks to such hits as “Born to Fly,” “Suds in the Bucket,” “I Keep Looking,” “Perfect,” “No Place That Far” and “A Real Fine Place to Start.” Starting in November, Evans says she will get back into the studio to begin recording her next album, a follow-up to her ultra-emotional 2011 record “Stronger,” which went on to spawn the hits “A Little Bit Stronger” and the remake of Rod Stewart’s hit “My Heart Can’t Tell You No.”
“Recording ‘Stronger’ was such a long process,” explains Evans, who expects the next album to be released late spring/early summer 2013. “I did about half of that album and then took quite a long break, and then came back. It made for an incredibly long time in the studio. For this new record, I have been writing a ton and listening to as many songs as we can get our hands on. One of the most creative aspects going in to studio and not knowing what is going to come out.”
Evans is also the successful author of three books (“The Sweet By and By,” “Softly and Tenderly” and “Love Lifted Me’”) which incorporated her Midwestern roots and her love for the South.
“We are thinking about another book, but I’m just not sure what it is going to be yet,” says Evans, who was recently nominated for three American Country Awards for best female vocalist, video and single. “I really enjoy the whole writing process.”
Will she perhaps write her memoir one day?
“Oh definitely I will do it someday,” she says emphatically. “I have a lot to tell.”
Tricia Despres is a local free-lance writer.