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Sara Evans and the Barker Family Band

The Barker Family band with Sara Evans – 2019 (Born to Fly)

Reviewed by Andrew Greenhalgh

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CDs by Sara Evans and the Barker Family Band

Over the past 20-plus years, Sara Evans has delighted country music fans with her powerful vocal prowess. Now the artist is ready to share the spotlight with her oldest children, Olivia and Avery Barker, as they endeavor to forge their own budding musical careers. And if the results heard on The Barker Family Band EP are any indication, the apples haven't fallen too far from the tree.

Produced by Evans and Nashville stalwart Ben Fowler, the EP leans heavily on a selection of strong covers while offering up both a nod to the past with a lilting intro and benediction from Evans from her biggest hit, "Born To Fly," while "The View" stands as the lone original here, looking into the future as Olivia plaintively sings, "Enjoy the view / Because soon it will be gone / Enjoy the music / Of this fading song / Because soon the clouds will cover up the sky."

The rest stand solidly as covers, finding mother and daughter trade out lead vocals while Avery manages acoustic and electric guitar duties like an industry pro. A cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams," the song which really inspired the project, is delivered faithfully and showcases smooth harmonies as only family can deliver. Things take a unique turn with their take on Beyoncé's "XO," which flows with a laid back, organic vibe that shows Olivia's earnest vocal delivery while Evans' tees up Aretha Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" and knocks it out of the park with a stripped down arrangement that puts the vocals front and center. With a melancholy note Olivia steps back into the spotlight with her take on "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and closes things out in fine fashion.

With a matriarch like Sara Evans at the helm, The Barker Family Band delivers just what one might imagine, a powerful vocal showcase with plenty of warm musical moments throughout.