Sara Evans

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Sara Evans

Sara Lynn Evans (born February 5, 1971 in Boonville, Missouri) is a country music singer-songwriter who has resided in Birmingham after marrying Jay Barker in 2008.

Evans was the oldest of seven children raised on a family farm. Since the age of five she performed with her family's band. At age eight, she was struck by an automobile in front of the family home, and both her legs suffered multiple fractures. Recuperating for months in a wheelchair, she continued singing to help pay her medical bills. When she was 16, she began performing at a nightclub near Columbia, Missouri, a gig that lasted two years.

In 1991 Sara and her brother Matt signed a publishing agreement with Gary Daily Publishing and moved to Nashville, Tennessee. She recorded a series of her own compositions at Nashville's famed Sound Emporium. She moved to Oregon with fellow musician Craig Schelske in 1992. They were married the following year. She returned to Nashville in 1995 to further her music career. Songwriter Harlan Howard helped her to land a contract with the RCA Nashville label. Her debut album, entitled "Three Chords and the Truth", was released in 1997.

The 1998 follow up, No Place That Far, scored her first major hit, a duet with Vince Gill on the title track. Her third album Born to Fly, released in 2000, included four hit singles and was certified double-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Evans was the most-nominated artist at the 2001 Country Music Association Awards. "Born to Fly" was awarded "Video of the Year". Her husband, Craig, ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination to represent Oregon's 5th District in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002.

Evans' next album was Restless, which came out in 2004. That year she was invited to perform at the Republican National Museum in New York City. Her fifth album, Restless, was the first to reach no. 1 on the "Top Country Albums" chart. It peaked at no. 3 on the Billboard 200. Evans polled as the "Female Vocalist of the Year" among readers of Radio & Records magazine in 2006. That year she won the "Top Female Vocalist" category at the Academy of Country Music Awards.

Evans competed on the 3rd season of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" in September 2006, paired with Tony Dovolani. She left the series before being eliminated for personal reasons. She divorced Schelske in September 2007. She was awarded custody of their three children. She co-hosted the CMA Awards with LeAnn Rimes in November.

Evans and former University of Alabama quarterback Jay Barker announced their engagement on March 24, 2008. They were married on June 14 in Franklin, Tennessee. The couple resided in Mountain Brook, where their children attended school. Sara's house in Franklin served as a second home. In 2009 Evans was profiled for the "Backstory" feature series on the Great American Country cable channel. She published a memoir, Born to Fly in 2020.

Evans separated from Barker in June 2020 and filed for divorce in August 2021. On January 15, 2022 Barker was arrested by Metropolitan Nashville Police and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly trying to run down Evans and another person who was bringing her home from a party. He was held in jail overnight as a stipulation of a domestic violence charge, and then released on $10,000 bond. After entering a "best interest" plea, he was convicted on the lesser charge of reckless endangerment and sentenced to one year of supervised probation.

Evans and Barker gradually reconciled, after she secured his promise to undergo rehabilitation for alcoholism and to participate honestly in therapy and counseling.

Evans was performed as "Mustang", clad in a black leather horse costume, for the 1st episode of the 9th season of "The Masked Singer" on FOX.

In 2024 Evans launched a podcast, "Diving in Deep with Sara Evans," on the YouTube platform.


  • Sara Evans (1997) Three Chords and the Truth. RCA Nashville
  • Sara Evans (1998) No Place That Far. RCA Nashville
  • Sara Evans (2000) Born to Fly. RCA Nashville
  • Sara Evans (2003) Restless. RCA Nashville
  • Sara Evans (2005) Real Fine Place. RCA Nashville
  • Sara Evans (2011) Stronger. RCA Nashville
  • Sara Evans (2014) Slow Me Down. RCA Nashville
  • Sara Evans (2014) At Christmas. RCA Nashville
  • Sara Evans (2017) Words. Born to Fly
  • Sara Evans (2020) Copy That. Born to Fly
  • Sara Evans (2024) Unbroke. Born to Fly


  • Evans, Sara (2020) Born to Fly. Howard Books. ISBN 9781501162589


  • Sara Evans. (July 5, 2008) Wikipedia- accessed July 7, 2008
  • Colurso, Mary (April 3, 2009) "'Backstory' gets up close and personal with Birmingham's Sara Evans." The Birmingham News
  • Colurso, Mary (September 4, 2020) "Sara Evans: ‘If you think my life has been easy for one second, think again’." The Birmingham News
  • Colurso, Mary (March 25, 2024) "10 revealing things we learned about Sara Evans and Jay Barker from her podcast."

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