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Sara Evans

At Christmas – 2014 (Sony Nashville)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Sara Evans

Sara Evans is straight-up one of the best singers in country music, and when she performs "Go Tell It On The Mountain" backed by a supportive choir on her new holiday offering, "At Christmas," the girl is squarely in her element. She has the kind of strong voice that gives this lyric the spiritual declarative quality it requires. And yet, she can switch to the acoustic guitar-backed "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" and sing ever so prettily and quietly. There's hardly a misstep on this seasonal album, which mixes sacred ("O Holy Night") with the secular ("Run Rudolph Run").

However, even though it's cute to hear Evans joined by her daughters Olivia and Audrey for "The Twelve Days of Christmas," hearing the song's marathon lyric in recorded version is the sort of thing that tries folks' souls. Sing it at the company holiday party? Sure, why not? But put it on a Christmas album? Please, people, never again!

The lovely country elements applied to "I'll Be Home for Christmas" is a pleasant reminder that this is a country Christmas album by a country singer. Granted, Evans has strayed into the ugly, mainstream pop-country realm of late, but this track is a beautiful reminder of how wonderful Evans sounds when set in the appropriate sonic environment. Title track "At Christmas" is a contemporary holiday song that revs it up a bit. Just to hear Evans sing about the pleasures of 'pea-can' pie, pronounced like a true country girl says it, once again firmly establishes Evans country credentials.