A reunion with producer Mark Bright, who produced her 2005 album Real Fine Place, may suggest Sara Evans is returning to the country on her 2014 record Slow Me Down, but a better indication of the sound of this album is in its artwork. The glamour shot showcasing Evans' long legs in all their glory is hardly down-home and neither is Slow Me Down. The singer may collaborate with songwriter of the hour Shane McNally on the exceptional "You Never Know," but a better indication of her frame of mind is how Isaac Slade from the Fray is brought in for a duet on "Can't Stop Loving You" and Gavin DeGraw pops up for "Not Over You," a song the AAA crooner co-wrote with pop hitmaker Ryan Tedder.
After years of knocking around the music business, Aloe Blacc (born Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III) found his place as a retro-style soul singer. In the 1990s and early 2000s, he was a rapper in the duo Emanon. His 2006 solo debut album, “Shine Through,” toyed with hip-hop hybrids, Latin rhythms ….
There is a brightness to “Slow Me Down,” Sara Evans’s seventh album, out Tuesday, that (funnily enough) makes this a stronger outing then her 2011 set, “Stronger.” While there are a few standard contemporary country tracks included in the mix — including a serviceable cover of Gavin DeGraw’s “Not Over You,” featuring DeGraw on harmony vocals — the tracks that stand out have a fresh appeal. “Sweet Spot” hits just that, thanks to an earwormy whistled hook, a jaunty acoustic guitar riff, a clap-happy backing track, and Evans’s jubilant singing about the rush of the moment when you realize you’re falling in love. Come the summer months this should be all over the radio.