BUBBLY BEAUTY

Sara Evans suds it up with her husband in a spunky video, and comes clean about her new song - one her record company didn't particularly like.

Sara Evans stands inside an old, clapboard church that's on the verge of collapsing while her new single, "Suds in the Bucket," plays and a camera follows her every move for the song's video. It's a cold, rainy, not-quitespring day, but she's in a thin sundress, shivering and hovering next to a heater in between takes. This must be what they call "suffering for your art."

"I was freezing!" recalls Sara a few days later. "It actually got worse later that day, as it got darker and colder. They put me in these little bitty shorts and a tank top and had me sing outside by a clothesline. I also had to put my hands in cold water and scrub the clothes with an old washboard. I have the worst cold now. I think that's how I got it. I'm surprised I didn't get pneumonia!

"The only thing that saved me was the heaters. The second the director said 'Cut!' I'd run over and warm my buns."

In spite of the cold temperature, Sara's thrilled with the final clip. "It's pretty straightforward and tells the story of the song. It's about a girl who runs off with her boyfriend, against her parents' wishes, and breaks their hearts. In the video we wanted me to be the narrator. At the end of the video you find out it was me - that it was my story all along."

Sara was "dropped" into different scenes as the narrator, while the other actors played their scenes as if she was invisible to them. Sara's husband of 10 years, Craig Schelske, even makes a cameo appearance in the end.

"It's really funny and kind of silly," says Sara. "At the end it shows me and Craig and that it was actually us, and that everything turned out fine. And we're still in love after 10 years! I wanted to put a good spin on the song and not make it something bad, like she got pregnant and ran off."

Sara says her hubby's role was to just "stand there and smile." "We hugged and kissed. I sang while I was dancing around him and hugging him. It's really sweet. I hope it turns out well - and I hope he makes the cut, because he was edited out of the 'Perfect' video. He had a part as a police officer but he died on the editing room floor."

Sara's own story is not exactly like the one in the song - but she did leave home when she was 20, moving to Nashville with her brother Matt.

"Right after we moved here, I met Craig," she explains, "and about three months later I ran off to Oregon with him and completely left my brother behind. Hopefully he's forgiven me for that! I left all my musical dreams behind, too, because I was in love, and I didn't want anything more than to be with Craig.

"We stayed in Oregon for three years and got married during that time. Once all that newness wore off I realized, 'OK, I have Craig - now I want to get back to my music dreams.' That's when we moved back to Nashville."

"Suds in the Bucket" is much more traditional than Sara's last hit, the Top 5 "Perfect." It was exactly what this self-professed country girl was looking for. "The song's demo was funny because it was so country and so hillbilly," reveals Sara. "For some reason I clicked with it and I thought, 'This is right down my alley.' It's perfect for me. I haven't found any real country songs like that in a long time."

Initially, Sara's label didn't even want her to include the song on her latest album, Restless. "I think they were thinking, 'There are better songs,' and I was like, 'No way! This is going on the record. It's a hit!' So I got my way. And then we decided that not only was it going on the album, but now it's gonna be a great single as well.

"I'm really excited."

-- Wendy Newcomer

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