Back in the early spring, the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® had a brilliant idea for completing the “Welcome Home” theme in high style with their 2018 Firefighters’ Marshal; but, bringing that idea to fruition has been a daunting task. The subject of the Festival’s quest wanted very badly to fill the role; but, she is a very talented and very busy performer; and, there were a multitude of tour dates and travel plans to sort out. Festival Organizers and their talent agents worked tirelessly right through Wine Festival Weekend; and, in the end, as they so often do, they were successful and all of the details were worked out. It is, therefore, with a great deal of personal pride and pleasure that Festival President, Mike Stanfield, announces that country music singer and songwriter, Sara Evans, will return to Bloomtown to serve as the 2018 Firefighters’ Marshal.
Festival history buffs will remember Sara’s first visit to the Land of Pink and Green. In 1999, a 28-year-old Sara Evans, in the early stages of her career, gave a concert in the back area of Weekend-in-the-Park on Sunday, May 2nd. The audience sat on hay bales that had been brought in for the occasion; and, Sara performed from a small stage that had been placed behind a hay wagon. Sara was expecting her first child at the time; and, her son, Avery Jack, was born less than four months later on August 21st. The concert was promoted back at the time by the now-defunct 104.9/105.5 Apple Country Radio; and, handled in the Park by the late Jim Nixon.
The following information accompanied the release of Sara’s latest album, Words, in July 2017. “She’s had five #1 singles, sold millions of records, won the Academy of Country Music’s Top Female Vocalist Award and claimed a Country Music Association trophy for her signature song, “Born To Fly.” It’s tough to imagine many accomplishments Sara Evans hasn’t already checked off her bucket list. And yet, with the release of her eighth studio album, Words, Sara demonstrates that she’s still willing to leap into the unknown, taking greater control of her career and calling the shots in a way that’s unusual in country music – particularly unusual for a woman in the genre. Words is the first project on Evans’ own label: Born To Fly Records, appropriately named after that CMA-winning signature song, which celebrated risk and adventure. Much is familiar about Words. Evans’ voice is warm and strong, the songs are authentic and memorable, and the actual words themselves resonate with the realities of everyday life. But the album was an eye-opening experience for Evans as a creative force. As the head of her own small, flexible company, she was able to take a streamlined approach to building it. Instead of passing the music to multiple departments, each with its own view of her career, Evans approached it with an instinctual, gut-level focus on making a project that represents the 2017/2018 version of Sara Evans.”
Evans has released eight studio albums: Three Chords and the Truth (1997), No Place That Far (1998), Born to Fly (2000), Restless (2003), Real Fine Place (2005), Stronger (2011), Slow Me Down (2014), and Words (2017), plus one Christmas album, At Christmas (2014). She has charted more than 20 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. She had her first major hit in late 1998-early 1999 with “No Place That Far,” the second single from the album of the same name, which went to No. 1. Four additional singles have reached No. 1 as well: “Born to Fly” (2000-2001), “Suds in the Bucket” (2004), “A Real Fine Place to Start” (2005), and “A Little Bit Stronger” (2010-2011), plus four more that reached Top 10. Evans has also won one award each from Billboard, the Academy of Country Music, the Country Music Association, Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI), and a Dove Award. She has collaborated with Vince Gill, Phil Vassar, Rod Stewart and many others.