As a mother of three, Evans waded through a messy divorce, but ended up on the other side finding a new love and husband, former football star and current sportscaster Jay Barker, and with his four children, forming a new family.
Known for her singles, “Born to Fly” and “Suds in the Bucket,” her album “Stronger” has been Evans’ biggest success to date. Although ever career-minded, Evans said her best gig is being a busy mom.
“I have three kids, and so wake up at 6 or 6:15 (a.m.), then I make breakfast. You know, like everybody else,” Evans, 41, said during a telephone interview from her Birmingham, Ala., home.
Evans will take a short recess from pancake making when she performs Saturday night at H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center at Shippensburg University.
But as a busy mom, Evans has to plan out her days so that even songs can be written in the Nashville, Tenn., tradition of appointment-making.
“Everything in my life has to be so scheduled,” she said. “I have three children and four stepchildren, and a touring schedule and everything else that the career involved.”
She said she has a pool house in back of her home that she’s transformed into a song-writing studio. It’s a place to work when Nashville songwriters make a trip into the Deep South to pen songs with her.
“We write while the kids are in school, and even when the kids get off from school, I’m still home, right out back,” she said.
For Evans, it’s an organic experience.
“The songs sort of come about in a different way. It depends on who you’re writing with,” she said. “One person might come with a fabulous idea that tops anything you might be thinking about or come with no idea and start with something I want to write. It just depends. It also depends on the day, the weather, mood, everything.”
It also depends on the songwriter. She wrote “A Little Bit Stronger” with country music songwriters Luke Laird, Hillary Lindsey and Hillary Scott. Scott is also with country music trio Lady Antebellum. And Evans co-wrote “What That Drink Cost Me” with producer Nathan Chapman and her brother, Matt.
The space must have been inspirational because Evans is nearing the end of finishing a yet-to-be-titled album that’s expected to be released in late summer or fall.
“I was just in the studio all day yesterday,” she said. “We just cut five more tracks, and we have just a few more to go and we’ll be done.”
Evans is excited about the album.
“I love it,” she said. “I was playing the songs for the kids this morning that we cut yesterday. There’s a big part of it that feels a lot more poppy. And I’m not sure why.”
But traditional country music fans won’t be disappointed, because Evans promises there are some tracks on the album in that vein as well.
“I think I’m trying to challenge myself vocally a ton,” she said. “I think I’m singing higher and different than I normally do. I’m excited about it.”
Evans said she’s looking forward to finishing the project.