Tucson's (not Nashville's) Sarah Evans makes her solo debut

2013-11-14T00:00:00Z Tucson's (not Nashville's) Sarah Evans makes her solo debutBy Cathalena E. Burch Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Country-folk singer-songwriter Sarah Evans goes by the stage name “Tucson’s Sarah Evans” when she performs.

That’s because some folks mistook her for the other Sara Evans — the platinum-selling, chart-busting, award-winning Nashville songstress.

That and there seems to be an endless stream of Sara/Sarah Evanses .

“At the time when I was at the UA (in the early 2000s), there were 14 Sarah Evanses enrolled at the UA,” she said.

There is only one Tucson Sarah Evans, who will make her official solo debut Friday at the historic San Pedro Chapel.

The concert comes after a lifetime of dreaming of being where she is : a successful mother, college graduate and singer-songwriter.

Evans remembers falling in love with music as a child growing up in El Paso. She would listen to the radio and try to imitate the songs .

She came to Tucson in 1978 to live with her grandmother. Evans married, had three kids, divorced and raised her children. She worked odd jobs to make ends meet including helping a friend with a cleaning business. No matter how little her family had, they were mostly content, she said.

“(The children) felt the sense of integrity in the home, even at the poverty level,” Evans said, adding that her children are successful adults with 10 children between them. “They are doing well.”

Evans returned to school 10 years ago, when she was 47 years old. She enrolled in the University of Arizona Music School, where she took her first voice lesson. She spent the next four years studying music theory and voice before earning a bachelor’s degree in music education.

She taught in Tucson Unified School District’s Opening Minds through the Arts program and led the orchestra at the Laura N. Banks Elementary Schoolon Tucson’s south side. She is now at the Waldorf School, working with sixth-graders who have Down syndrome.

A couple years ago, she returned to making music, and she has no plans of turning back.

“I live alone, and in my spare time I’m with my guitar and my voice,” the 57-year-old said, describing her music as folk and country — a little like that other Sara Evans.

Evans explores her spirituality in her music. She’s a daughter of a strict, conservative preacher , but her music isn’t quite religious.

“I use words that bring in more of the wholeness of who we are, the duality,” she explained, citing her country-flavored original song “Heaven Is Mine,” whose melodies borrow from folk and contemporary.

“The message is kind of universal,” she said.

Evans said she hopes her show Friday will be the first of many. She may never achieve the big Nashville Sara Evans career, but that’s fine.

“This is a dream come true, sharing the songs that I’ve written,” she said. “I’m doing very well.”

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