Sara Evans is one of country's iconic modern singers and her music has resonated on country radio, at concert halls and amphitheaters, and in fans' personal playlists. And the music she's made to date is authentically her. But where Born To Fly Records narrowed the crowd of voices around her, Words is distinctively Sara Evans. For a woman who always tackled the music her own way, the new album is 100% her own. It's a big reason that the album is titled Words. The songs generate a number of words – flexible, commanding, sassy, daring, loving, hopeful, resilient – that all embody parts of Evans' inimitable persona.
Her adaptability is clear from the outset of Words. The rippling mandolin and bold fiddle in the opening "Long Way Down" hint at bluegrass. The moody second track, "Marquee Sign," segues into pop-leaning territory with jagged keyboard sounds and thick harmonies, including her 14 year-old daughter, Olivia. The third song, "Diving In Deep," employs rolling bass and buoyant percussion to establish an island feel. There's plenty more variety along the way: the light reggae approach to "Rain And Fire," the Celtic undercurrent in "I Need A River" and the motherly parental ballad "Letting You Go," written for son Avery.
Evans co-wrote three of the album's 14 songs, instinctively picking material along the way that matches her world view. Thirteen additional females racked up writing credits on the project, including Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott, Pistol Annies' Ashley Monroe, The Isaacs' Sonya Isaacs, Hillary Lindsey ("Blue Ain't Your Color"), Caitlyn Smith ("Wasting All These Tears"), Heather Morgan ("Beat Of The Music") and Liz Hengber ("For My Broken Heart"). Words closes with an acoustic revision of "A Little Bit Stronger," her pensive, heartbreak anthem that spent two weeks at #1.