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Sara Evans shows Jamboree how country does diva

Sara Evans isn't your run of the mill diva.

For one thing, she writes most of her own songs. She's an alto, so she doesn't go up into screeching range.

And she just seemed to be having too much fun performing Friday night during her headlining set at WYRK's "Taste of Country Jamboree" at Dunn Tire Park.

Where Evans moved into the divahood, though, was when she simply poured her soul into songs, such as a new one she sang about her daughter. It was called, "I'll Always Love You, Baby," she told the crowd.

Evans recently filed for divorce and accused her husband of cheating and perverse sexual tendencies. She dropped out of "Dancing with the Stars" in the wake of that.

So when she threw herself into "Cheating," with its line "you should have thought of that when you were cheating," there was a black humor edge. Especially since her ex was a politician who had run for Congress in Oregon.

But Evans seemed more interested in just busting out on stage and letting her spirits run free on songs like "Suds in the Bucket," about an 18-year-old girl running off with her redneck boy, and "As If," her current single with a throbbing, 1980s pop pulse.

If this Missouri country girl is going to be a diva, it will be on her own terms.

The rest of the night belonged to the guys and was considerably more low key.

Darryl Worley and Jason Michael Carroll were both performing before the sun went down and before spotlights could do much good.

Carroll opened the show with about half a dozen songs, including "Alyssa Lies," a tearjerker about a little girl who is being beaten at home. It's the kind of song that can make a career.

In his short, daylight set, Carroll didn't get much chance to show how much he'll be able to take advantage of that, but he's got the looks to draw the girls and the Southern rock rowdiness to get the guys.

In contrast, Worley is the grizzled veteran to Carroll's kid.

Worley kept it loose, rolling through some more southern rock tunes like "Whiskey Makes the World Go Round" and "Tennessee River Run" before hitting his bread and butter: "I Just Came Back (From a War)" and "Have You Forgotten."

The latter ended Worley's set as a group of soldiers marched on stage and stood at attention as a the big screen over the stage displayed a picture of the flag.

Josh Turner, third on the bill, opened his set with "Would You Go With Me," using his deep baritone on one of the sweetest pieces of country pop in the past few years.

Turner's low-key crooning never quite reached that level again, although his covers of Waylon Jennings' "Just to Satisfy You" and Johnny Horton's "I'm a One Woman Man" kicked up the energy and showed his appreciation for classic country. His country version of "Got My Mojo Working" had a goofy, quirky charm.

eploetz@buffnews.com

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