Born in a Barn with Melissa Etheridge and Sara Evans

Words and interviews by Rob Nicholson

Sara Evans began singing at the age of four. She is a multi-platinum, American country music singer, songwriter, record producer, actress and author. She has held the number one spot on Billboard’s country charts and has sold more than six million records and counting. 

Raised in Missouri, she began singing alongside her siblings in the aptly named Evans Family Band. In 1991, she and her brother Matt put together their own band and headed to Nashville to start their careers in country music.

Evans’ career soared in the early to mid-2000s with records like “Born to Fly,” “Restless” and “Real Fine Place.” Meanwhile she appeared on TV shows like “Nashville” and “Chrisley Knows Best,” as well as “The Talk,” “Dancing With the Stars” and “The Masked Singer.” She has written and published five books centered around faith-based themes with positive messages and a memoir called “Born to Fly.”

In addition to her work in the entertainment arena, Evans is a spokesperson for the National Eating Disorders Association. While she never experienced an eating disorder herself, she became very outspoken about the subject when a friend of hers developed anorexia, which also heightened her awareness of society’s obsession with body image.

Evans has 10 records under her belt, the latest of which, “Copy That,” is a compilation of hits, including “Come on Eileen,” “My Sharona,” “Don’t Get Me Wrong” and an inspired version Carole King’s “It’s Too Late” that she co-produced with Jarrad K. Her son Avery played guitar and daughter Olivia sings all the harmonies with her. It is a collection of musical styles and songs reflecting her musical interests but completely different from the music she typically records. As she tells me in our interview, “For the first time, I felt like I didn’t have to conform to any particular sort of musical style and was basically able to do my own thing not submitting to any certain genre.” 

Evans will be performing approximately 80 shows this year, including one at Thrasher-Horne Center on May 4. For more information and to buy tickets, visit

To watch the full interview with Sara Evans, click here.


Melissa Etheridge is a monster of rock and roll and one of the biggest and best female rock musicians ever. She has won two Grammy Awards and has been nominated for 15. In 2007, she won the Academy Award for Best Original Song with “I Need to Wake Up” from the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” She has produced 16 studio albums the latest of which is “One Way Out,” a compilation of songs that she wrote in the 80s and 90s that did not make the cut … until now.

Etheridge hit her commercial and artistic stride with her fourth album, “Yes I Am” (1993). The collection featured the hits, “I’m the Only One” and “Come to My Window,” a song that brought her a second Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Performance. In 1995, Etheridge released her highest charting album, “Your Little Secret,” which was distinguished by the hit single, “I Want to Come Over.”

Known for her confessional lyrics and raspy vocals, Ethridge has remained one of America’s favorite female singer-songwriters. Earlier in her recording career, she acknowledged her sexual orientation when it was considered less than prudent to do so. In October 2004, Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer, a health battle that, with her typical tenacity, she won. Despite losing her hair from chemotherapy, Etheridge appeared on the 2005 Grammy telecast to sing “Piece of My Heart” in tribute to Janis Joplin. By doing so she gave hope to many women living with the disease.

In 2016 Melissa Etheridge released “Memphis Rock & Soul,” her first album since 2014’s critically lauded “This Is M.E.,” followed by the release of “The Medicine Show” in 2019.

In June 2020, Melissa launched her own live streaming subscription and single ticket concert platform, Etheridge TV, and did over 200 live streams for her fans.

October 2022 saw Melissa’s return to the theater with her one woman show, “My Window — A Journey Through Life.” The critically acclaimed, sold-out run premiered at New World Stages and is expected to move to Broadway this year.

Melissa Etheridge and her full band perform at the Thrasher-Horne Center May 9. For more information or to buy tickets, visit

To watch the full interview with Melissa Etheridge, click here.

About Rob Nicholson

Rob started his media career in the late 80’s working in the Press Office at the Georgia House of Representatives. From there, Rob segued in to Radio at The Voice of Georgia State University, WRAS Album 88.5 in Atlanta. In the early 90’s Rob was picked up by the Radio 2000 Group and became Program Director and later Vice President of Programming USA. In the late 90’s, while running 3 music-driven radio stations in Springfield, Missouri, Rob had the opportunity to put together and launch, Southwest Missouri’s Regional Periodical, 417 Magazine. A publication that is still in circulation today. After selling his interests in Radio 2000 in the early 2000’s, Rob returned to his hometown of Jacksonville Beach, Florida to be near family. For 10 years he worked with the Clear Channel Radio Stations: Planet Radio and KISS-FM. In 2010, Rob took a hiatus from radio and went in to concert promotion and event planning, while also running the now 30 year old Beaches Hospitality Network – the organization that is well known for bringing the Superbowl, 2004 to the beaches area. When presented with the opportunity to work with Folio Weekly Magazine, Rob said, “there was no way I could resist an opportunity to work with the local, independent news magazine in the city I’m from. I can’t wait to get to work every morning”. Rob currently resides in North Jax Beach with his brother, Rich and dog, Tonka.