Sara Evans is one of the busiest women in country music. Yet, at at her core, she is a mom just looking out for her kids … even when they have grown taller than she is.
“Time just goes by so fast,” Sara told Rare Country during a recent interview about her current “CMT Next Women of Country presents Sara Evans All The Love Tour,” in which son Avery has taken over guitarist duties during her set. “Avery, for example, grew up on the bus with me. He has always been a dreamer that has always had a gift of music. I would have him listen to John Mayer’s ‘Room for Squares’ when he was, like, 6.”
Sara laughs as the memories begin to flood her head.
“We got him an incredible guitar for his birthday when he was 14 or 15, and he was a natural,” she recalls. “He immediately took to it and really became obsessed with it. He would spend hours and hours playing guitar. It was his calling.”
And it still is.
Yet, when one of Sara’s bandmates was unable to join her on the “CMT Next Women of Country” tour and she approached Avery with the opportunity to join her out on the road, he was initially hesitant.
“He was really scared,” says Sara. “He has no interest in riding my coattails. He wants to succeed on his own merit as a guitarist and a songwriter, so he was super apprehensive. But after the first day of rehearsal, he really liked it. I myself wondered if I would be self-conscious about him being onstage with me, but it was like the most natural thing in the world.”
Indeed, the chance to go out on tour has been quite the opportunity for Avery, who currently is making some big decisions about his musical future. “He wants a higher education in music,” Sara tells Rare Country. “He has been accepted to the music program at Belmont University [in Nashville,] and he also auditioned at Berklee College of Music [in Boston,] and we find out their answer on March 31, so that’s when he will really need to make his decision.”
It’s enough to make a mom all mushy.
“It’s an emotional time,” admits Sara, whose 2017 album “Words” includes the addictive, yet heartbreaking single, “All The Love You Left Me.” “When people see that [stepson] Braxton [Barker] is going to Alabama for football [like his dad], they see it as surprising and exciting, but we don’t see it as surprising as all. We have been witnessing what these kids are made of. We are just so blessed, and grateful and proud that all of their hard work is coming to fruition. They are not squandering away their God-given talents.”
In addition to these talents, Sara and husband Jay Barker’s kids, who were raised together “Brady Bunch”-style, also all seem to have a healthy dose of confidence that has led them to make some big decisions about their future.
“Avery changed his last name to Barker. It’s a bit of a running joke in our house,” laughs Sara of her son, who is one of her three children with ex-husband Craig Schelske. Meanwhile, her 14 year old daughter Olivia “is a singer, and she wants her stage name to be Olivia Evans and have that name recognition,” Sara says. “Yet with Avery, maybe it’s a masculine thing or something, but Jay is his dad and he wanted his dad’s name, and also [to] then be associated with his brothers.”
And while home is quite a busy place for Sara at the moment, she’s been thrilled to get out on the road with two of country music’s brightest future stars — RaeLynn and Kalie Shorr.
“We have had an amazing time on tour,” she says. “It’s been the best time having both of them out with me, and we truly all are friends now. I’m excited to see them succeed. I haven’t specifically had a talk to them with any advice or anything like that because, to be honest, it’s so tough these days. I don’t even know what to do to get on country radio, but I hope that they have the very best careers. They are both hard workers and really cool people.”