Three Chords and The Truth is the first studio album released by country music singer songwriter Sara Evans. The album's title comes from Harlan Howard, a country music songwriter to whom this quote is widely attributed. It also was an improvised lyric in U2's version of the Bob Dylan song "All Along the Watchtower," released on the Rattle and Hum album. Three Chords and The Truth was released in 1997 on RCA Records Nashville and it produced three singles: "True Lies", the title track, and "Shame About That". Although all three of these singles charted on the Hot Country Songs chart, none reached the Top 40, making this the only album of her career not to produce any Top 40 hits.
Sara Evans' first album consists of mostly traditional country. It was hailed by critics as one of the best albums of the year and made the critics top ten of the year lists for The Washington Post, Billboard, Dallas Morning News, and Country Music People . The album itself as brought prestige and was nominated for many awards such as an Academy of Country Music Nomination for "Top New Female Vocalist." The video for the title track directed by Susan Johnson was nominated for "Country Video of the Year" by the 1998 Music Video Production Association and for "Best New Clip" at the 1997 Billboard Music Video Awards. In addition, Evans was named one of Country America's "Ten To Watch In 1998/Top 10 New Stars Of 1998."
Three of the songs on this album are covers: "Imagine That" was originally recorded by Patsy Cline; "I've Got a Tiger by the Tail" by Buck Owens; and "Walk out Backwards" by Bill Anderson.
Giving it 3 out of 5 stars, Daniel Cooper of New Country magazine praised the inclusion of material from Melba Montgomery, Buck Owens, and Bill Anderson, and the "honky tonk kick" of Pete Anderson's production. He thought that the album "references the country past without ever sounding unfriendly to 90's country radio" and that Evans had a "clear and strong" voice, but criticized the "abstraction" of the songs that Evans wrote. James Chrispell of Allmusic rated the album 4 out of 5 stars, saying that "This disc rings out with an air of originality helped along by great tunes and solid backup musicianship."