Sara Evans has long been at home blending her traditional country voice with other musical genres, resulting in some one-of-a-kind collaborations, the most recent of which was the singer’s CMT Crossroads with REO Speedwagon. Evans, who covered Christmas songs for a 2014 LP, also has a history of lovingly rendered, if unexpected, covers, with vocals that may bear little resemblance to her country hits but still certainly hint at the Missouri native’s strong country roots.
The singer’s latest entrée in the pop-music world pays homage to blue-eyed soul wunderkind Sam Smith and has found its way into the encore of Evans’ live shows. The English-born singer-songwriter, who won four Grammys at the start of this year, debuted as a solo artist in 2013 with “Lay Me Down,” a worldwide hit that has sold more than two million copies in the U.S. Posting her heartbreaking live version of the song to her YouTube channel, Evans penned a note to accompany the clip, but found that just expressing her personal reason for covering the tune was almost as overwhelming for her as singing the song live has been.
“I chose to add ‘Lay Me Down’ by Sam Smith to my encore because the first time I heard the song it reminded me of visiting St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, last year,” the singer writes. “I had the honor of touring the hospital including a section where kids are in isolation because they are recovering from bone marrow transplants and their immune systems are so fragile. While they are in isolation the parents, no matter how young the child is, can have zero contact with him or her. We were told (and I’m crying as I’m typing this), that sometimes parents try to go in and lay with the child to comfort them and the nurses are required to call security to stop them, for everyone’s safety, especially the child’s.”
Evans adds that when she first heard “Lay Me Down,” she “immediately thought of that and how torturous it would be to not be able to lay by your child when they are sick.” She also cautions that audiences might not hear her at her technical best when she performs the emotionally taxing tune.
“Every time I perform the song different parts make me choke up and I go flat or sharp on some of the notes because I’m trying so hard not to cry! That is truly why I adore music!”
Evans will be on the road throughout November and December. See her tour dates here.