Sara Evans' ninth album combines sophisticated storytelling with enthralling instrumentals that draw from the best bits of classic country and contemporary pop music. On opener "Long Way Down," breakneck banjo-picking leads the way for her traditional (but not retro) sound, gaining momentum as a pounding drum beat kicks in. "I Need a River," meanwhile, opens with a rootsy breakdown before Evans launches into a story about escaping the "not-so-merry go-round," singing her woes over a Dixie Chicks-style arrangement of fiddles and acoustic guitars.

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