Sara Evans began basic and earthy on her 1997 debut, Three Chords and the Truth-- only to U-turn into poppish, radio-friendly, late-'90s fare that expanded her popularity. Then, in 2003, she swerved back to raw traditional... more »ism on Restless, which showcased her edgy, in-your-face hit "Suds in the Bucket." Evans stays that course on Real Fine Place, with straightahead, earthy production values and first-rate material, including Sheryl Crow's "Roll Me Back in Time" and the title tune, cowritten by Radney Foster and George Ducas. She conjures the perfect mixture of pain and indignation on "Cheatin'," and projects warmth on the parenthood tale "You'll Always Be My Baby." Her stately rendition of Lori McKenna's "Bible Song" magnifies its dark slice-of-life lyrics. Evans cowrote six of the numbers, including the party anthem "Momma's Night Out" and "These Four Walls," an affirmation of domestic pride written with her brother Matt. Granted, her earthy and frothy sides each have their partisans. Even so, high standards remain a constant on all her albums. This one's no exception. --Rich Kienzle« less
Sara Evans began basic and earthy on her 1997 debut, Three Chords and the Truth-- only to U-turn into poppish, radio-friendly, late-'90s fare that expanded her popularity. Then, in 2003, she swerved back to raw traditionalism on Restless, which showcased her edgy, in-your-face hit "Suds in the Bucket." Evans stays that course on Real Fine Place, with straightahead, earthy production values and first-rate material, including Sheryl Crow's "Roll Me Back in Time" and the title tune, cowritten by Radney Foster and George Ducas. She conjures the perfect mixture of pain and indignation on "Cheatin'," and projects warmth on the parenthood tale "You'll Always Be My Baby." Her stately rendition of Lori McKenna's "Bible Song" magnifies its dark slice-of-life lyrics. Evans cowrote six of the numbers, including the party anthem "Momma's Night Out" and "These Four Walls," an affirmation of domestic pride written with her brother Matt. Granted, her earthy and frothy sides each have their partisans. Even so, high standards remain a constant on all her albums. This one's no exception. --Rich Kienzle
Don M. from UNIONVILLE, TN Reviewed on 2/25/2016...
one of her best cd's
i reate this cd as very good
Charles B. Miller | Atlanta, GA USA | 10/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a fan of Sara Evans since I first heard her duet with Vince Gill "No Place That Far" back in 1998. She has a classic country voice with just enough twang and belt to make you feel every word she sings. I really loved her last album "Restless" and was unsure whether her newest album would be as good. Well, after listening to "Real Fine Place" a few times, I am happy to tell you that this album is on par with the best that Sara has ever recorded.
Sara is somewhat of a chameleon in terms of musical style. She easily shifts from an up-tempo classic country romp ("Coalmine") to mid-tempo modern country-pop ("A Real Fine Place To Start") to a slow ballad ("You'll Always Be My Baby") without sounding strained or awkward. My favorite tracks on the album are "New Hometown", "Missing Missouri" and the stellar first single "A Real Fine Place To Start".
It amazes me that Sara is not considered higher on the wrungs of the female country music ladder. She can deliver a song as good as the best in business, and she also is a solid songwriter (which can't be said of many current female country singers). I highly recommend this album."
A real fine place to be for Sara and her listeners
A. K. Bristol | Geneseo, IL USA | 10/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This fifth album by one of country music's finest is my new favorite. She wrote 6 of the 13 songs on this wonderful album full of the traditional back-to-her-roots but also the modern buzz of a female country artist topping the charts. The first song "Coalmine" breaks right into an old-fashioned toe-tapping tune that makes you laugh to hear the lyrics. The description of wanting to make love to her man all sweaty and "all muscled up" just makes me smile. The second tune "A Real Fine Place to Start" has made wonderful progress on the charts, being #1 for three weeks in a row on the country charts and is such a catchy sing-along. The fourth track, "New Hometown" written by Sara and her brother Matt Evans describes the wanderlust of a couple longing for the charm of a small town where there are Friday night football games, parades, and "where everybody knows our names." This song reminds me of my traveling spirit and a longing for the little towns like the one I grew up in. Track five, "You'll Always Be My Baby", also written by the artist must have come straight from her heart as a mother of three children, telling of the deep devotion and love for her children. Sara's rendition of Sheryl Crow's "Roll Me Back in Time" on track 7 actually sounds a little like Sheryl. Track 8, "The Secrets That We Keep" is super sexy. It almost makes you blush because of the deep secrets exposed on this song about making love with your significant other. Another very sexy song about love, also written by the artist is track 10, "Tell Me", focusing on always craving and needing to know more and more about your lover. She describes the deep love she feels and how she wants to know more and more about her lover and wants to do anything for him. "Missing Missouri", track 11, seems like such a perfect fit to Sara Evans (she is from Missouri) you'd think she wrote the song herself. It was written by Mark Kerr, Trent Tomlinson, and Danny Wells, but I am guessing they wrote this with Sara in mind. You can just feel that homesick feeling of "being stuck out on this road" and the rejuvenation of being "almost home, where they love me, where they know me, where they show me back in Missouri." Track 12, "Momma's Night Out" is a fun, catchy tune about a mother/wife going out for the night for a girl's night out after a long hectic week.
This album was well worth the wait, and it is wonderful to see the maturity Sara has acquire from album to album. She has such a beautiful voice and she has a quality that seems to make you feel eaxactly what she is singing about. I have always thought that she is so real, you could just listen to her and know exactly what she means in every song. "Real Fine Place" is definitely a fine place to be for Sara. A true winner."
Sara's best yet...both contemporary AND classic
A. Gammill | West Point, MS United States | 05/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sara Evans is that rarest of performers: Not only does she improve with each succeeding release, but she's one of the few singers today who can so effortlessly appeal to contemporary pop-country fans without alienating traditionalists. To wit: Although her first single, the soaring title track, sounds very modern, two of the first three tracks on the album ("Coalmine" and "Cheatin'") are pure retro country.
Of the remaining tracks, two of the most affecting were, not surpringly, written by Evans herself. "You'll Always Be My Baby" showcases her professed love of God and Family, in a seemingly autobiographical tale of one woman's journey from child, to awkward young adult, to mother. "The Secrets That We Keep" describes the pleasures of monogamy, with a sultry and utterly convincing vocal performance.
Like any good country album, there are also songs about small-town life, missing one's home, and the power of memory. My favorite among these is probably "Bible Songs," with its bittersweet reflection, "Just because you lie in his bed/Don't mean he meant the things he said."
After 5 albums and a dozen or so hit singles, Evans still exists in the shadow of Modern Country-Pop Queens like Martina and Faith, and Redneck Heroine Gretchen Wilson. I hope that more people will discover not only this fantastic album, but Evans' uniformly solid catalog of first-rate discs. There's just nobody quite like her. And no recent country album by ANYONE comes close to this level of perfection.
A REAL FINE PLACE, indeed. "
Kat | MI | 12/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After I bought "Real Fine Place", it prompted me to go out and buy "Restless" and "Born To Fly". This album is stellar and flawless. It has just the right amount of country and edge. "Real Fine Place" opens up with a high energy song, "Coalmine" followed by the hit singles "A Real Fine Place to Start", and "Cheatin'". "New Hometown" is a fun upbeat song. The album slows down to the wonderful ballad "You'll Always Be My Baby". The song has a very sweet sentimental message. Things pick up again with "Supernatural", another wonderful tune. Other highlights from this album include "Roll Me Back In Time", "The Secrets That We Keep", "Missing Missouri", "Bible Song", and "Momma's Night Out". If you purchase this at Target, you get four bonus tracks: "Caged", "Best Days Are Coming", "You", and a live version of "Suds In The Bucket". There are no fillers on this album; every song has the potential to be a hit. This is what country is supposed to sound like. Sara is the most underrated country singer who keeps delievering outstanding albums. I highly recommend the album."
Can't please everyone. But this is a fine place to start.
J. SHARP | Alabama - United States | 05/02/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sara Evans has had a bear of a time trying to find the right balance of traditional and contemporary country to please the general CD-buying populace. Abundantly talented, embarassingly beautiful, and an absolute workhorse on the road, Sara could put out an album where she sings the phonebook and her core fan base would give her gold sales. But her pursuit of platinum has produced maddeningly uneven results.
Her heart and roots are in unadulterated, hardcore, pure country and bluegrass - the songs of heartbreak and hard life on the farm and the mountain reminiscent of the middle of the 20th century. But the urbanized, novelty-driven, can't-nobody-tell-me-how-to-run-my-life pap of the '90s drowned out her first effort (the awesome 'Three Chords and the Truth') and the Twain-Hill pop crossover tsunami crushed her second (the sweet 'No Place That Far') even though it made overtures toward modernity. Without improved sales she was headed back to Missouri.
So she dove into the pop-heavy 'Born to Fly', a terrific album with some beautiful photo shoots and videos to back it up but not very country at all. What do you know? Multi-platinum and top of the country charts. She figured, "Okay. This must be what people want." On the heels of that came her first release as a bona fide star, 'Restless'. It had some solid charting (especially with the perfect "Perfect") but received complaints of not being "country enough." Lo and behold, the lone foot-stomper on the CD was released as the last single and blew the roof off the world. "Suds in the Bucket" became as overplayed as "Redneck Woman" in 2004 and 'Restless' broke female sales records into the next year. Top that off with a selection as one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in the World and Sara was certainly on top of it in 2005.
Finally thinking she had this thing licked, she put out this album. With lots of rich, soul-searing vocals and steel backed by killer rhythms, "Real Fine Place" is a country album from the first note. Of course, what are the complaints? "It's too twangy and country."
People. Please. Make up your minds. This woman has legendary talent and presence. Let her do her thing. It's a work of art."