“No Place That Far”
Written by Sara Evans, Tony Martin, and Tom Shapiro
#1 (1 week)
March 6, 1999
A leading female artist from the turn of the century earns her first No. 1 hit.
The Road to No. 1
Missouri-born and raised, Sara Evans got her musical start as part of the Evans Family Band, singing lead vocals as early as age 6, backed by her siblings. By age ten, she already had her sights on Nashville, and she continued to perform and even record as she completed school. She moved to Nashville in 1991 with her brother, then met her husband and performed in a duo act with him when they temporarily lived in Oregon. A demo recording of hers was heard by Harlan Howard, who was instrumental in the young singer being signed to RCA Records. Her first album, Three Chords and the Truth, was released in 1997. Though it received universal critical acclaim, it did not produce a top forty radio hit.
Evans led off her second album, No Place That Far, with “Cryin’ Game,” which also fell short of the top forty. But the title track was released next, and it became her commercial breakthrough.
The No. 1
My only criticism of “No Place That Far” is that Vince Gill deserved full billing for his harmony vocal, which breaks out into a full duet in the final chorus.
The record itself is flawless. It’s a gorgeous song about unconditional love, and it’s closer to poetry than most country songwriting ever gets: “It wouldn’t matter why we’re apart,” she sings, “the lonely miles, or two stubborn hearts. Nothing short of God above could turn me away from your love. I need you that much.”
Evans delivers a vocal that demonstrates the heavy influence of Patty Loveless on her style, and it’s the perfect showcase for her pure traditional sound. This is the lane that would always work best for Evans, and it’s very deserving of its status as her breakthrough hit.
The Road From No. 1
Evans scored one more hit from No Place That Far: the top forty single “Fool, I’m a Woman.” It was enough to make it her first gold album. But her biggest success would come at the turn of the century. We will see her several times when we cover the 2000s.
“No Place That Far” gets an A.
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