Entertainment Weekly - No. 843, p.77
"...[N]o woman currently does big-country schmaltz with more class and better hooks...." - Grade: B
Personnel: Sara Evans (background vocals); Sara Evans (vocals); Ashley Evans Simpson, Matt Evans, Leslie Lyons, Jack Evans (vocals); Steve Patrick, Steve Herman, Steven Herrman (trumpet); John Hinchey (trombone); Glenn Worf, David LaBruyere (bass guitar); Desmond Pringle, Janelle Means, LaTara Conley, Troy Johnson, Kevin Whalum, Vicki Hampton, Wes Hightower, Kim Fleming (background vocals); Darrell Scott, Marcus Hummon, Biff Watson, Bryan Sutton (acoustic guitar); J.T. Corenflos, Tom Bukovac (electric guitar); Paul Franklin (slide guitar, steel guitar, keyboards); Gary Morse (steel guitar); Randy Scruggs (banjo); Aubrey Haynie (mandolin, fiddle); The Nashville String Machine (strings); Tim Akers (pennywhistle, accordion, piano, keyboards); Jeff Coffin, Randy Leago (tenor saxophone); Jim Horn (baritone saxophone); Chris Dunn (trombone); Steve Nathan (piano, keyboards); Matt Chamberlain (drums); Eric Darken (Jew's harp, percussion); David Huff (drum programming).
Audio Mixer: Derek Bason.
Recording information: Starstruck Studios; The Sound Kitchen, Nashville, TN.
Photographer: Russ Harrington.
On 2005's REAL FINE PLACE, country singer Sara Evans kicks things off with the twangy, upbeat "Coalmine," an allusion (intentionally or not) to the great Loretta Lynn. Rather than being a coalminer's daughter, however, Evans is a coalminer's girlfriend, offering a playful update of a classic country theme. Although Evans shows an allegiance to her rural roots, she's also unapologetically taken with pop/rock arrangements, as on the uplifting "Real Fine Place to Start," the soaring "New Hometown," and the nostalgic "Roll Me Back in Time" (penned by Sheryl Crow and her frequent collaborator, John Shanks). Whether she's keeping it country or venturing into pop territory, Evans is a charismatic performer, and REAL FINE PLACE is an ideal showcase for her talent.