A female country traditionalist during a time when they were quite rare around Nashville,
, so much that he considered himself duty-bound to help her. While growing up poor in rural Missouri,
performed with her family's band -- at the age of four -- and even recorded in Nashville several years later.
She eventually married and moved to Oregon in 1992, but continued to perform as Sara Evans & North Santiam
. The group opened for Willie Nelson
and Tim McGraw
, among others, but Evans
eventually returned to Nashville to try to remake her career. There she impressed Howard
enough that he recommended her to RCA executives, who connected her with producer Pete Anderson
(a veteran of many albums by Dwight Yoakam
). After her debut album, Three Chords & the Truth
, was released in July 1997, Evans
earned a special honor by being handpicked by George Jones
to open a special show in Nashville. No Place That Far
followed a year later, and in 2000 she resurfaced with Born to Fly
. The title track was a big hit for Evans
, and the album eventually peaked in the Top Ten of Billboard's country charts.
She followed that up with 2003's Restless
, and returned in 2005 with the Top Ten hit Real Fine Place
. Following some tumultuous developments in her personal life, Evans
stayed out of recording studios for the latter half of the 2000s. Her label issued Greatest Hits in 2007. She returned to the popular arena with Stronger in early 2011.