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"Maybe this is actually the best time for new music. Maybe this is a blessing after all," Sara Evans tells PEOPLE

By Tricia Despres
May 13, 2020 10:00 AM
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Sara Evans
Sara Evans
| Credit: Lowfield

Sara Evans trusts that God's timing is always perfect. But that doesn't mean she doesn’t find herself shaking her head every once in a while.

Heck, she still remembers 20 years ago, when she released her career-altering album Born to Fly and quickly got nominated for a slew of CMA Awards. Yet that was the same year that the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack ended up sweeping the awards.

"Oh, I was so, so mad," Evans, 49, recalls to PEOPLE during a recent interview. "I mean, of course, it was the one time in my career that I would be nominated so many times."

So, as the coronavirus began its cruel hold on the country weeks ago as Evans was counting down the days to the May 15 release of her very first covers album (and her first solo album in three years), the singer could only mutter one word.

"Typical," she says with a laugh. "It's just so typical of me and my life."

Sara Evans
Sara Evans
| Credit: Courtesy Sara Evans

Yet, after additional thought, the multi-platinum entertainer says that she is starting to believe that maybe, just maybe, the timing couldn’t be better for Copy That.

"People are looking for new music to listen to, new books to read, new television shows to watch," says Evans, who cemented her spot as one of country music’s most iconic singers via hit songs such as "Suds in the Bucket," "No Place That Far" and "A Little Bit Stronger." "Maybe this is actually the best time for new music. Maybe this is a blessing after all. I know my fans have been waiting for this album for so long."

Indeed, while Copy That is Evans' first covers album, it's also the first time that she's worked with renowned producer Jarrad K, whom Evans says has pushed her and her music in an entirely new direction.

Sara Evans
Sara Evans
| Credit: Lowfield

"I knew it would be amazing to work with him just by listening to the Ruston Kelly's album, but I really had no idea how amazing it would be," explains Evans, who grew up singing covers with her family band back in the day. "His vibe and his spirit and his kindness. He was just so open to anything."

"I was a little worried that he would be one of those kinds of millennials living in East Nashville that annoy me," she admits with a laugh. "But he wasn't at all! He was perfection."

That perfection can be heard on Copy That in everything from the psychedelic solo in the 1978 classic Kenny Loggins and Stevie Nicks duet "Whenever I Call You Friend" with Little Big Town's Phillip Sweet or the subtle and sweet melodic touches on the Poco's 1979 hit "Crazy Love."

Sara Evans
Sara Evans
| Credit: Lowfield

"I want to work with [Jarrad K] all the time," says Evans, who will also release her memoir Born to Fly in September of this year. "I want him to produce my next record. I want to write the next record with him. He's a musical genius."

And it's that musical genius that was able to push Evans forward more than ever before, especially when it came to her voice. With the songs of her idols such as Fleetwood Mac and Patsy Cline leading the way, Evans says Jarrad K did nudge her a bit out of her comfort zone.

But she liked it.

"Whenever I was like, 'Should I try this?' when it came to my voice, he was always like, 'Hell yeah,'  so I really did a lot more with this album, especially when it came to the harmonies,” says Evans of the record, which spans six decades of music. "We worked so hard. I mean, sometimes we were working from 12-15 hours a day just adding and fading harmony parts in and out of these songs."

Sara Evans
Sara Evans
| Credit: Lowfield

And as Evans continues her climb through this ongoing quarantine, she too is finding comfort in her very own music.

"Every single one of these songs make me happy in one way or another," says Evans, who is already considering releasing another covers album in the future. "I was listening to 'Crazy Love' and I almost started crying just listening to it. And then there are days when I'm cleaning the house and all I want to do is listen to 'My Sharona.' It just depends on the day. All of it feels really good to me right about now."