With a résumé including five No. 1 singles and trophies from both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association, Sara Evans has long been a powerful voice in country music. That’s a role upholds with her eighth studio album, Words, a dynamic continuation of her evolving and sometimes daring artistry within the genre.
Evans is not only a force to be reckoned with as a general artist — she’s proven to be an outspoken advocate for female voices in country music, a segment that she feels is gravely endangered these days, as she discussed with AOL’s Build Series during a trip to New York City.
When Evans finished up her latest release, she was pleased to realize that the set included a whopping 14 female songwriters as contributors. “I had no idea — and I’m included in that 14,” she marvels, then moves on to the bigger issue: the ever-increasing shortage of female artists on country radio.
“Country music has really stopped playing women,” she notes. “I think it’s getting a little bit better, but it’s been really frustrating. It’s changed my career and my life a lot — because I used to make a record and I’d release a single, and it’d come out on the radio. And it would be a hit, and I would go tour. You just have this way that it works.
“Then all of a sudden, [radio] just kind of quit playing women,” she relates. “I don’t understand it, because it really narrows the genre. What country radio is today is not what it’s always been. It’s definitely not what my music is.”
Evans, who claims to hate “lazy songwriting” such as the kind exhibited by the recent “bro-country” craze, recalls a time when the tunes coming from Nashville included an impressive variety of strong and extraordinary women. “When I started, I was with Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless, the Dixie Chicks,” she ticks off. “So many incredibly talented females. And then all of a sudden … I think at any given time in the Top 40 right now, there are two or three at most. And that just kills me.”
Watch the full interview with Evans below: