Gavin DeGraw, Vince Gill, the Fray's Isaac Slade among album's featured guests
Sara Evans has been counting down the days, and now she’s down to four. On Tuesday (March 11), the songstress will release her seventh RCA studio album "Slow Me Down." Billboard has traced Evans’ footsteps with the album since releasing the title track as the first single in August, and now that release day is just a few days, we check in with Sara once again to discuss the album.
The success of the lead-off single has raised fans’ awareness of the album. Peaking so far at No. 28 on the Hot Country Songs chart, Evans told The 615 that the song still is as fresh to her now as it was when she first heard it.
“If I want to hear one of my songs over and over, that’s a great sign," Evans said. "I think that ‘Slow Me Down’ musically is so fun to listen to. It is very emotional, and has this big peak in the song, and then it comes back down. I think at the end of the second chorus when it gets really big, and I triple my vocals, I think you look forward to that every time you listen to it.”
Helping to raise the profile of the single was the stunning video, which features NASCAR star Carl Edwards, whom Evans enjoyed working with.
"That was cool. I didn’t really know who he was. I don’t really follow NASCAR. I love going to the races, and I’ve sung the National Anthem at the races, and it’s so exciting. But, I really didn’t know much about him until he came to be in the video -- and he’s a great actor. He was so into the role,” she said, smiling. “I told him to be mean and be a jerk, and be a total ass so I could muster up the emotion I needed for the part. He was incredible. He was a great bad guy, but a real nice guy.”
One track that Evans is particularly excited about is her cover of Gavin DeGraw’s “Not Over You,” which features harmonies from the soulful stylist. Evans considers herself a huge fan.
“That’s my favorite song on the whole record," Evans admitted. "I always like to put a cover song on each record. I started to think about which song I wanted to do. I heard it on the radio, and was reminded of it. It sounded like a song I would sing -- just like a Sara Evans song. We did it, and made it our own and rearranged it a little bit. Then, we thought it would be cool if he came in. I was not able to be there, but he treated it like it meant so much to him. He took it to a whole new level, making it so much more dramatic than it would have been without him.”
Vince Gill appears on the traditionally-driven “Better Off,” which she said was an automatic add to the album. “A friend of mine, Shane Stephens, played it for me. He said, ‘You have to hear this song that Karyn Rochelle wrote. He was just playing it for me.'" One listen was all it took. “I thought it was simply amazing -- one of the most country songs I have ever recorded in my entire career. It’s like my wheelhouse. That is how I learned to sing -- very Patty Loveless/Reba McEntire. It has these huge, high, wailing country notes, and there’s obviously nobody any better than Vince Gill to do something like that. When he comes in to sing on your project, he puts his heart and soul into it. He doesn’t just do the harmony. He makes it his own because he wants it to be great for you.”
Rounding out the guest appearances on "Slow Me Down" is The Fray’s Isaac Slade, who appears on the duet track “Can’t Stop Loving You,” which Evans feels is also a highlight.
“The song just blows me away. I’m a huge fan of his and The Fray. His vocals are so amazing. We had a ton of chemistry in the studio playing off of each other. To have him on my record is so amazing," she said.
All in all, Evans is ready for the events of next week. As an artist, she says that’s what it’s all about.
“I love album launch week,” she said. “Those are some of my favorite times I have ever had in my career. We’ll go and do all the talk shows and are so busy. It is a huge celebration of all the work we’ve been doing. I’ve poured my heart and soul into doing my best vocals, and making sure everything is mixed perfectly. Now, it’s done and out there, and it’s definitely a time to celebrate.”
(Monday, we’ll preview the record with a Billboard Cut By Cut.)