By the Way

Singer Sara Evans talks Crimson Tide football before Saturday’s show in Gulfport

Sara Evans will be at the Island View Casino in Gulfport on Saturday at 8 p.m.
Sara Evans will be at the Island View Casino in Gulfport on Saturday at 8 p.m. Sara Evans

Country music star Sara Evans made her debut with REO Speedwagon on “CMT Crossroads” on Sept.19, 2015. Evans is no stranger to the concept of “Crossroads” as she has shared the TV stage with Maroon Five and sang a duet with Joe Walsh on a cover of Eagles “Best of My Love.”

She is also not afraid to show her classic rock chops. In 2014, she joined Doobie Brothers singer Michael McDonald for a duet on the Doobie’s classic “What a Fool Believes” for their album “Southbound” and she’s been known to throw out a classic rock cover or two during her live shows.

My wife and I enjoy Evans’ music and we are big fans of her work. I was pretty excited about her show with REO Speedwagon and I had been looking forward to it since it was announced.

The Tide turned

I still remember the date the show aired. I know without a doubt it was a Saturday because that also was the day the Ole Miss Rebels marched into my beloved Tuscaloosa and beat the Crimson Tide — on national television — for the second year in a row.

Ole Miss won 43-37.

I was so on edge after the game, which was a roller coaster of emotions, that the only thing I found comfort in was Evans’ performance with REO Speedwagon. I watched it twice that night.

Evans will be performing at the Island View Casino in Gulfport at 8 p.m.Saturday.

Married into the Tide Family

And while her body of work and hits such as “A Little Bit Stronger” and “Born to Fly” speak for themselves, it is worth noting that Evans is married to former Crimson Tide quarterback Jay Barker, who won a national championship under Coach Gene Stallings when they beat No. 1 Miami 34-13 in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

This was the team’s first national championship since the Bear died. It was a unique experience because it was the only time I have seen someone my age win the national title — although I didn’t attend the University of Alabama, this was my era of college.

Evans is on my list of people that receive a “Roll Tide” tweet on game days. The list also includes actor Melissa Joan Hart, heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, Kenny Stabler’s daughter Kendra Moyes and Tuscaloosa country music DJ and my good friend Monk.

“Oh my gosh, that night was so emotional.” Evans said of the night her show with REO Speedwagon debuted. “The game was so crazy and then ‘Crossroads’ came on, which was one of the best experiences of my career.”

I had no idea what it really meant to be a college football fan until I met Jay. It got really weird a couple of years ago when Missouri and Alabama played for the SEC Championship — I had to also pull for Missouri and I tried to make it as funny as possible.

Sara Evans on marrying into the Alabama Crimson Tide family

The Missouri native, who grew up a fan of the Mizzou Tigers, said she had never experienced anything like the Alabama football fan base.

“I had no idea what it really meant to be a college football fan until I met Jay,” she said. “It got really weird a couple of years ago when Missouri and Alabama played for the SEC Championship — I had to also pull for Missouri and I tried to make it as funny as possible.”

She said she and her family try to attend games in Tuscaloosa when they can.

“Going to the games is the hardest part because we literally get mobbed — Jay gets mobbed — but there’s no good way to get to the suites and everyone wants to get an autograph and I don't ever want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but it can take us two hours to get into the game.”

Although Evans and Barker are immersed in Crimson Tide culture, she said it’s not something they discuss a lot at home.

“Jay talks about Alabama football every day for hours on his radio show, so we don't talk a lot about football,” Evans said. “But it’s still a few weeks away from football —I’m pretty sure it will start becoming part of the conversation when it gets closer to the season.”

I’ll have more from my interview with Sara Evans including the scoop on her new single with Todd Chrisley on Thursday.

If you go

What: Sara Evans in concert

Where: Island View Casino at 3300 W Beach Blvd. in Gulfport

When: 8 p.m. on Saturday, July

Tickets: $30 and are available at Ticketmaster.com

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