REVIEW: Sara Evans’ “Slow Me Down”

Sara Evans has been climbing the charts and playing through your stereo speakers since the late 1990’s, and if there is one thing we can say about Evans, it is that nobody can slow her down. At a time where it seems that a lot of our favorite veteran female country singers are releasing new music, Evans is back with an album, Slow Me Down, that will not disappoint. With three duets (two of which might surprise you!) and several new solo tracks to introduce, Evans reminds us all why she entered the hearts of country music fans many years ago and why she has remained in our hearts since.

On this, Evans’ seventh studio album, the pristine artist proves that her music career remains full speed ahead. Slow Me Down kicks off with the chart-climbing title track, which talks about a relationship that is nearly over, but before one of them walks out the door, the other is given a final chance to hurry up and say the right thing. “Slow Me Down” is an appropriate start to this eclectic collection of tracks because, right from the beginning of this album, Evans hits the ground running with potential hit after hit.

With tracks like “Put My Heart Down,” “You Never Know,” “Sweet Spot,” “A Little Revival,” and “Gotta Have You,” Sara speeds things up, providing listeners with catchy tunes, appropriate for those times when you feel the need to belt lyrics passionately and freely. From dealing with a risky love and needing to be released from the poison or praying to a higher being to express gratitude for finding a great love, Evans takes us on a journey of adulthood, which could be attributed to the trials and tribulations she has faced in her own life.

Slow Me Down is a breath of fresh air in an industry that is ever-changing, as the sound is reminiscent of the Sara Evans you have always known and loved, but in a more mature and confident way. On tracks like “If I Run” and “Good Love Is Hard to Find,” Evans reminds us why she took the country music industry by storm right out of the gate. On these slower tracks, we are blessed with Evans’ broad range, poignancy, and a glimpse into her mind, heart, and soul. These tracks are a major departure from the emotion of past songs (such as chart-topping hit “Stronger”), but, nevertheless, have the ability to touch listeners, albeit from a different perspective.

Rounding out the album and providing it with a stamp of uniqueness are the three duets, “Not Over You (feat. Gavin DeGraw),” “Can’t Stop Loving You (feat. Isaac Slade),” and “Better Off (feat. Vince Gill).” If you dabble in other genres, it is likely you have heard DeGraw’s “Not Over You” a multitude of times. However, chances are, as a country music fan, you haven’t quite loved it as much as you will now. The original version of DeGraw’s song is flawless, but when you add in Evans’ gorgeous vocals, the song takes on brand new meaning. If it shocked you to see Gavin DeGraw’s name on a country album, it probably threw you for an even bigger loop seeing Isaac Slade’s name on Evans’ tracklist. Slade, known for his role as The Fray’s lead singer, lends his gritty vocals to “Can’t Stop Loving You.” The collaboration of the two very distinct artists results in a crossroads’esque track that has country, pop, and/or adult-contemporary potential. Lastly, Evans teamed up with the legendary Vince Gill on a ballad that can best be described as the most soul-soothing kind of ear candy. The harmonies in the choruses and at the end of the song will leave your jaw on the floor, as Evans and Gill complement one another seamlessly. These three tracks are, most certainly, highlights on the album, as they set Slow Me Down apart from the rest and grant Evans the ability to entertain the idea of crossover singles, if that is a path which she chooses to travel.

Sara Evans’ new album, available today, will take you on a journey from the past to present as you recall the artist you met years ago, whom you watched grow as a vocalist and a person, and will introduce you to an Evans that you have yet to meet. The new Evans’ artistic abilities are as spectacular as ever, but in a more sophisticated way. Evans’ album is the first of many highly-anticipated returning female artists’ albums to be released in 2014 and the year could not have started off any “stronger” for the ladies we love so dearly.

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