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Sara Evans

A female country traditionalist during a time when they were quite rare around Nashville, Sara Evans gained her RCA contract in 1996 after her rendition of Buck Owens' perennial chestnut "I've Got a Tiger by the Tail" impressed its songwriter, Harlan Howard, so much he considered it his bound duty to help her. While growing up poor in rural Missouri, Evans performed with her family's band -- at the age of four -- and even recorded in Nashville several years later. She eventually married and moved to Oregon in 1992, but continued to perform, as Sara Evans & North Santiam. The group opened for Willie Nelson and Tim McGraw, among others, but Evans eventually returned to Nashville to try to remake her career. There she impressed Howard enough to recommend her to RCA executives, who connected her with producer Pete Anderson (a veteran of many albums by Dwight Yoakam). After her debut album, Three Chords & the Truth, was released in July 1997, Evans earned a special honor by being hand-picked by George Jones to open a special show in Nashville. No Place That Far followed a year later, and in 1999 she resurfaced with Girls Night Out; Born to Fly was issued the next year. John Bush

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