Sara Evans on John Mayer’s Brilliance

And Defying Death on Video Shoots

When Sara Evans and I were talking favorite songs after last week’s CMT Music Awards, she said hers is one from John Mayer’s 2012 Born and Raised album.

She said, “It’s ‘Whiskey.’” And then she said it a couple more times, which led me to believe that the song was so good, she had to say the name three times.

It turns out, it’s actually called “Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey.”

Her second favorite song is also from Mayer. It’s “Assassin” from his 2009 Battle Studiesalbum.

Why all the Mayer love?

“He’s just brilliant,” she said, then added his music is what they listen to the most around her busy house in Alabama. (Evans and her husband Jay Barker have seven children — her three and his four.)

As for her own music, Evans has fond memories and favorites from her 18 years of making country music. And then there’s the not-so-fond memories. Like when she made the Peter Zavadil-directed video for “A Real Fine Place to Start” in 2005.

“We shot that video in the desert right after the ACM Awards that year, and I nearly died on that video shoot,” she recalled. “I almost fell off the cliff, then I basically stepped on a baby rattlesnake. Then, in the bonfire scene, a spark from the fire landed on me and burned this huge hole in my shirt.”

When it was my turn to talk favorites, I told Evans that one of mine is “What That Drink Cost Me,” a song from her 2001 album Stronger. It has to be one of the countriest drunk-driving ballads I’ve ever heard, about losing a good man to a bad habit.

She admitted she loved that one, too.

“I wrote that one with my brother and Nathan Chapman,” she said. “I wish that had been a single. And I wish I’d made a video. I would’ve loved that.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.