Country sensations in Shreveport
Country fans had a treat May 9 in Festival Plaza for the 93.7 Kiss Countryfest that featured performances by super-star Sara Evans and country band Parmalee.
Parmalee, known for their debut country album, “Feels Like Carolina,” kicked off the evening with their lineup of blue grassdipped, soulful country music. They’ve been touring this year with Brad Paisley on his “Country Nation World Tour,” and their hit song “Carolina” recently certified “gold” in sales.
Multi-platinum-selling recording artist Evans is on tour to promote her recent album “Slow Me Down.”
“The people in Louisiana are always really fun crowds and seem to be super happy at the shows,” Evans said. “They’re not quiet at all; they’re totally into it!” Crowd participation means a great deal to Evans, whose favorite part of her career are the live performances she gets to do. “Live shows are my favorite thing ever,” Evans said. “I get such a high from it. I love connecting with the fans.”
It’s not all glamorous, though. “The one negative aspect to performing so much is the travel aspect,” Evans said. “Dealing with airlines is rough; however, I love getting on a bus with my kids and my husband and hitting the road!” And she’s been traveling a lot this year promoting “Slow Me Down.” Her favorite song from that album is “Not Over You,” which she performs as a duet with Gavin DeGraw. “I’m a big fan of that song and decided to cover it for the album,” Evans said. “Then he came in and sang on it and took it to an entirely new level. I love his vocals on it, and I love mine. It was a challenging song for me.”
Evans has been performing since she was a child, receiving paying gigs at age 4. Even though she loves it, she still tends to get a burst of nerves before live television broadcasts or singing the national anthem. “There’s so much pressure there,” Evans said. “You can’t forget the words – you just can’t. It’s a lot of stress, but it’s always such a rush when you’re finished.”
For Evans, who has been awarded honors over the years such as ACM’s Female Vocalist of the Year, CMA’s Video of the Year and People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People, music has always been in her blood.
“I’ve been so blessed,” Evans said. “I’ve never had to wonder what I am here for. I do exactly what I was meant to do, and I’m so thankful to God for that. I always knew music would be my life.”
Evans has been incredibly busy over the last several years, both on and off the stage. She was a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2006, married her own personal Prince Charming, Barker, in 2008, and released a set of fiction novels (the Songbird Novel series) with awardwinning author Rachel Hauck in 2010 and 2012, titled “The Sweet By and By,” “Softly and Tenderly,” and “Love Lifted Me.”
“Writing with Rachel was a really fun experience,” Evans said. “It was much easier on me than it was on her! I had the ideas and thought the character should have this kind of relationship with her mom, or this issue in her childhood, but Rachel had to be the one to actually make it happen. I just love those books.”
Despite her interest in other avenues, Evans has no plans to quit doing what she does best, writing songs and singing them.
“I hope to still be touring and making records over the next five to 10 years,” Evans said. “I’ll never stop recording and releasing music.”
Music has always touched Evans on a personal level. “I’m super-sensitive to music,” Evans said. “I’m one of those people that a certain song or a certain lyric can literally move me to tears and make me swell. Music is a gift from God, and it gets me emotionally.”
Evans said that’s part of why she’s not a big fan of current country music today.
“I don’t like the party music, the beer and trucks and tight jeans,” Evans said.
“It’s just not my thing. Those lyrics don’t move me. I need something deeper than that.”
– Betsy St. Amant