It's been a return "home" for Sara Evans this week. Though she lives with her family two hours south in Birmingham, Alabama, the singer says the CMA Music Festival is important because the fans are right in the heart of Music City. "I love CMA Fest week because we travel to get the music to the fans, and this is a week that we can basically stay at home. We get to see everybody from all over the world – and that's so many people. It's the biggest audience we will play for all year. "
In the nightly press conferences at LP Field, Evans had a little fun when asked about being one of the few female singers on the airwaves these days - "Slow Me Down" reached No. 17 on the Country Airplay chart. She asked one of her team to bring out a hat she had brought for the occasion – which said "Bra Country," a reflection upon the recent "Bro Country" trend in the format, but she admitted the numbers are definitely slanted right now towards male vocalists. "It's definitely an issue, and the center of my career, competing with so many men being played and so few women. With ‘Slow Me Down,' when I entered the Top-40, there were two women there. Even as I entered the Top-20, there was still two – me and Miranda. It's definitely frustrating, but at the same time I feel very lucky to be one of the women that's still being played," the RCA artist admitted.
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It's a different world than 1998, when Evans earned her first chart-topper with "No Place That Far," as it was actually the women who were on top of the artistic and commercial heap. When I came out, it was so dominated by female vocalists like Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, and Patty Loveless," she said, also citing Lee Ann Womack and the Dixie Chicks as artists making an impact. "I would love to see more women getting airplay because there are so many incredibly talented female vocalists out there."
Evans released her latest set, "Slow Me Down," in March, and she said that it's been great for her to converse with fans regarding the new music. "When you have a year where you are releasing a new album, it's always a fun time. I've been working on ‘Slow Me Down' for the past two years. To hear the excitement from the fans is always awesome, and it's a great feeling when they name other songs on the album that they love. We released the album in March, and it's been so busy and so crazy, but I feel so blessed and lucky to have it do as well as it's doing."
Evans has a full slate of dates on the calendars this summer – including a July 4 performance at the Capitol. She says that when she's not on the stage, you will find her in the kitchen. "I love to cook," she says. "I cook so many different things, but the kids always ask for mashed potatoes, green bean casseroles – the feel good kind of yummy food. I love to make fried chicken. I love to spend the day making fifty fried chicken thighs. It's hard, but that's what the kids love."
She says she tries to provide home cooked meals for her family as often as possible, but not because she views herself as a "Superwoman" - it's just in her DNA. ‘I grew up on a farm with a mom who cooked all the time – three meals a day. I just learned that. I could never be one of those moms or wives that just doesn't cook ever. That's not how I was raised. I try to balance it. I'll think ‘Ok, we've been traveling for three days, and have eaten out for three days, so I'm going to cook.' It's all about planning ahead and preparation," she says, stressing again that she does have a lot of support. "I do have someone who grocery shops for me, so I don't know if I would cook as much if I didn't have that, because that's the pain – going to the grocery store."