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STARific Review: Sara Evans - A Real Fine Place

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Between devoting time to give birth to a third child with husband Craig Schelske and jetting off on the Mud 'n' Suds tour with labelmate Brad Paisley (with Craig and their three kids en tow!!), Sara recorded her followup to her Restless album. The wait is absolutely worth every minute on Real Fine Place! Love is the underlying theme in this superb collection of thirteen tracks (Sara had a hand in writing six of them). She also shares producing credits with Mark Bright.

The album explodes with COALMINE, a rousing, fiddle-driven bluegrass tune. Get on your feet and dance along!! After a long day's work, it's time to shoot out the lights and find A REAL FINE PLACE IS START. The leadoff single apparently struck a chord with fans, as with their help, it recently topped the charts. The mid-tempo CHEATIN' – in true nature of the phrase "what goes around comes around" – makes a full circle after engaging in a temporary moment's bliss. Having a NEW HOMETOWN is as good as a place to call home, as long as there is "a little earth to stand on" and room to "plant our love on sold ground." YOU'LL ALWAYS BE MY BABY will bring tears to your eyes. The endearing ballad embraces listeners with the grace of unconditional love. At first listen, the analogies used to describe love in SUPERNATURAL might seem odd. (I don't know about you, but bee charmers, snake handlers, and rainmakers don't exactly come to mind when someone mentions the word "love.") Perhaps therein lies the very charm of this song – the fact that these forces of nature can encompass the concept that is love. This track has a Celtic kick to it, which makes it very delightfully enjoyable. The Sheryl Crow co-penned ROLL ME BACK IN TIME tells the tale of lost loves and unrealized dreams. Next is the sensual ballad THE SECRETS THAT WE KEEP, in which Sara reveals love in all its exquisite rawness and powerful glory. The contemplative BIBLE SONG is a reality check drawn upon a not-so-happily-ever-after way of life. Sara's usually commanding vocals are refreshingly feather-like on TELL ME; her warm performance wraps around already beautiful lyrics professing an everlasting love. It isn't surprising that Sara chose to record MISSING MISSOURI. What is, however, is that this is one of the tracks that Missouri's own country music pride and joy didn't write. After all, the lyrics of this feel-good track seem to fit Sara down to the last dotted "i" of her life. MOMMA'S NIGHT OUT comes courtesy of the same threesome who wrote "Born to Fly" (Sara Evans, Marcus Harmon, and Darrell Scott). The tune is a whole lot of rockin' fun and I'm willing to bet it'll be a hit with fans! Speaking of fans, one of the reasons they're so drawn to Sara and her music is because no matter the amount of success she sees, she continues to keep her feet planted firmly on earth. THESE FOUR WALLS affirms those sentiments; the gorgeous ballad puts her on a humble pedestal that lets the world know what really matters to Sara. Those things are, of course: having a husband dear to her heart, three children who "would need me to one day be their mom," and a life built not of forgotten dreams but rather one that lets us know she's right where she wants to be.

Sara's voice is stronger than ever on her fifth studio album. Then again, having a secure marriage and enjoying the thrills of motherhood can put anyone in a Real Fine Place. In this particular instance, all those things translate to the music Sara wrote and recorded for this project. After listening to it, it's hard not to agree that she is, indeed, in a real fine place!


Sara Evans
Real Fine Place
RCA Nashville
Released October 4, 2005

Sara Evans


1. Coalmine
2. A Real Fine Place to Start
3. Cheatin'
4. New Hometown
5. You'll Always Be My Baby
6. Supernatural
7. Roll Me Back in Time
8. The Secrets That We Keep
9. Bible Song
10. Tell Me
11. Missing Missouri
12. Momma's Night Out
13. These Four Walls

Reviewed by: Estella Pan

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