June 4, 2012 at 4:02 pm , by Ron Kelly
One could say there’s a lot of buzz around this year’s CMT One Country spokesperson. Just as Sara Evans is about to start a chat with me about her role with the country music station’s volunteer initiative, she’s stung by a bee. “It’s good,” Evans casually assures me, barely missing a beat. “It’s a little swollen but I’m fine. I’m gonna live.” Her stoic resilience really shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, this is the singer of the can’t-keep-me-down anthem “A Little Bit Stronger,” a National Celebrity Cabinet member of the American Red Cross and the mom of a blended family of 7 children, all ranging in age from 7 to 13. So while the bee might have picked the wrong lady to mess with, CMT on the other hand seems to have chosen wisely.
“Well, CMT viewers are country fans and country fans are without a doubt, in my opinion, the most charitable, giving, caring, down-home people,” says Evans, who’ll be shouting out to CMT One Country’s volunteer efforts this Wednesday during the 2012 CMT Music Awards. “I’m a farm kid from a town of 1,200 people in Missouri,” Evans continues. “Everything about me speaks to exactly what country fans are. And my mom was really big on always inviting people over and feeding people, helping them out, giving away our clothes—just everything she could do to help people less fortunate than us.”
As she looks forward to her work with CMT One Country, Evans is especially drawn to one of the initiative’s ongoing six partnerships. “I love the BackPack Program,” she says, referring to Feeding America’s growing effort to get bags of nutritious and easy-to-prepare food to students who are struggling with hunger issues at home. Each year, bags of food assembled at more than 150 local food banks are distributed at the end of the week to nearly 230,000 children. “The fact that there are people who can’t afford school lunches just blows me away,” Evans says, “so I’d like to get more involved with that. It’s a really nice, really sweet program.” (It’s also sweet that, in lieu of providing pricey artist gift bags to those appearing at their awards show, CMT makes a group donation to the BackPack Program at Feeding America’s local Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.)
In addition to being on hand to promote the CMT One Country initiative during Wednesday night’s award show, Evans also has the honor of competing in the Female Video of the Year category, in which she’s nominated for “My Heart Can’t Tell You No.” Asked whom she’d favor in her category other than herself, Evans’ decision comes pretty easily. “I’d probably have to go with Miranda Lambert, [nominated for “Over You”],” she says. “She’s just cool. I met her when she was on Nashville Star and I told her she was going to win. She was so sweet and I like her because she’s remained very humble and down-to-earth. And I think she has a really cool voice.”
Believe it or not, picking an outfit for the awards seems to be the biggest source of stress for Evans, who is currently headlining concert dates across the country and gearing up to promote “Anywhere,” her newest single. “I swear to you, I literally will pick [my outfit] out an hour before the show. I’m such a country girl, so low-maintenance,” the songstress says, before poking a little fun at how she handles the whole fashion decision-making process. “Maybe it’s because I think I’m just so beautiful that everything’s going to look great. Maybe I’m just that delusional,” she offers with a laugh. Well, we don’t buy that for a minute—and we have a feeling she’ll look positively buzzworthy in whatever she chooses to wear.