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In the liner notes for Sara Evans’ new CD she thanks “everyone for waiting so patiently on me to make this record.” Indeed, it’s been six years since the Missouri-born singer’s last album. In the intervening period she has dealt with some drastic life changes. In 2007 she divorced her first husband amid allegations of cheating on both sides before marrying a former star college quarterback, Jay Barker. So predictably, Evans’ new album trumpets renewal and strength.

However, the anthemic songs fall flat. On the fist-pumping “A Little Bit Stronger” and the spiritually inclined “Desperately,” Evans sounds detached and the arrangements sound overly dramatic but once she gets past the front-loaded survivor songs, she settles into layered tunes that better reveal her strengths. The multidimensional “My Heart Can’t Tell You No” and the breezy “Anywhere” bring out a verve in Evans’ husky voice that is absent from the big showcase tunes.

Sara Evans “Stronger”

Label: Sony
Genre: Pop ballad

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