P.O. BOX 456 - WINCHESTER. VA. 22604
1-540-722-4625

 

 

LEE ANN WOMACK

 

Some people take voice lessons to learn how to sing, but I just sat and listened to country records, like George Jones, Dolly Parton and stuff like that. What`s so familiar to me can be so foreign to other people, and I don`t realize that sometimes. But that`s how I learned how to sing.`

Somewhere between the blush of a new love and the bruises of a broken heart lies real life and real country music. Lee Ann Womack is a lifelong student of this reality, majoring in Jones and Wynette and graduating with honors, with the tender, yet tough spirit of teachers including Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn.

There`s More Where That Came From-the follow-up to her 2004 Greatest Hits collection -- is for everyone who`s ever loved, lost, and learned hard-earned lessons and lived to tell about it, including the singer herself.

`These are songs that aren`t afraid to tell the truth,` says Womack. `It is definitely honest music as far as the lyrics go. They`re a slice of life�the good, bad and the ugly.`

It`s not an accident that the album`s first single, `I May Hate Myself In The Morning,` sounds simultaneously like a classic country cheatin` song and a contemporary breath of fresh air. `This is the kind of stuff I grew up listening to,` says the daughter of an east Texas country deejay, who practically wore out her father`s vinyl records, soaking up every vocal lick and turn of a phrase like a sponge. `How true is this song?` exclaims Womack. `Even if you haven`t been in that situation, we all know somebody who has. It`s just honest.`

You know, the sad thing is, I always felt like I was born too late,` Womack admits. `Even when I was younger, I had an old soul. I chose these kinds of songs early on in my career, but if anything, I`m more able to relate to these kind of lyrics more now than before,` says the woman whose 2000 single, `I Hope You Dance,` made her worldly known.

`You can`t be married twice, have two kids and go through all I`ve gone through in the last few years without learning a few things, you know? I think I even sound a little wiser sometimes.`

And that she certainly does on `Twenty Years And Two Husbands Ago,` a song Womack wrote with veteran country writers Dean Dillon and Dale Dodson. The song`s opening line�Looking in the bathroom mirror, putting my makeup on/Maybelline can`t hide the lines of time that`s gone�is the kind of humble honesty that any woman can relate to. `I feel like that was kind of my `Tammy` song,` says Womack. `I wanted a song or two that was classic and classy female country. Tammy and Dolly would sing in those sequined dresses, almost an evening gown kind of thing. And they`d sing songs of heartbreak. You don`t see females doing that anymore, but I knew I`d have fun doing it, and that was what I wanted to do with this record�just have fun and make music that I love.`

This time around Womack worked with hit-making producer Byron Gallimore, who`s best known for working with pop-flavored artists Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. `I can`t tell you how many people have stopped me and said, `You`re making a record with Byron Gallimore?` laughs Womack. `Now people are calling me saying, `I can`t believe Byron did this record! It`s outstanding!`

`Byron`s very talented and quite versatile. And anyone who`s really sat and listened to the records he`s made knows he`s one of the few who are capable of going the direction an artist wants to go,` she adds. `We just had fun. I hope that`s what it sounds like when people hear the record. If they know anything about me and the kind of music I love, they will know I had a blast making it.`

Womack estimates she personally listened to over a thousand songs to find the baker`s dozen on There`s More Where That Came From. `Then you have to add on how many Frank [Liddell, Womack`s husband and publisher/producer] listened to,` she says, `and how many Missy [Gallimore, music publishing exec and Byron`s wife] heard, too.`

The songs that made the cut examine everything from the wistful regret of `The Last Time` and playful sexiness of `What I Miss About Heaven,` to the numbing moment of a diminishing relationship, as sung in `Painless.` And the record`s introspective crown jewel just might be the Don Schlitz/Brett James-penned stunner `Stubborn (Psalm 151).`

`It`s hard for me to pass up any song that has a lot of ache in it,` explains the CMA Female Vocalist and Grammy award winner. `I don`t know why that is�I`ve been like that since I was little. Frank has taught me a lot of things about songs. He doesn`t like things that are cliche` or trite, and he`s pointed that out to me. That`s not to say that there aren`t some lines sometimes that can be cliche`, but I do think about those things now more than I used to. More than anything, I look for a song that makes me feel something. If I believe it, and if it makes me feel sad, or feel like laughing, or feel like dancing, it`s my kind of song.`

One day in the studio Lee Ann and Byron found they had an extra hour left at the end of a session. `Byron said, `We have time to cut something that you love, just anything from the past.` I had been listening to The Essential Porter And Dolly, so I said, `I`d love to cut `Just Someone I Used To Know.` The guys didn`t even ask which one that was, everybody just stood up, went to their instruments and started playing. We got a key and cut it.`

Womack laughs when she recalls another day in the studio when the engineer was exposed to�and amazed by�her `country soul` way of singing. `I remember I was in the vocal booth and I could see Byron just dying laughing and talking to the engineer, Eric. I asked him what was so funny, and he got on the talkback and said, `Eric said, `I love her singing, but how does she do that? And where did she learn to do that?` Byron thought it was so funny because I was just singing country. We went into this big thing about how some people take voice lessons to learn how to sing, but I just sat and listened to real country records, like George Jones, Dolly Parton, and stuff like that. What`s so familiar to me can be so foreign to other people, and I don`t realize that sometimes. But that`s how I learned to sing.`

One listen to There`s More Where That Came From is proof of that. And like the heroes who bared their souls through her father`s turntable, Womack has perfected the art of combining vulnerability with strength. `I hope people will enjoy it,` says Womack. `You can always pull out your old Tammy records or your old George or Dolly records�and I do it consistently, but I think it`s fun to have new recordings of things like that. I hope those people who have been missing out on classic country albums, find that this one fills the void. I hope they hear the honesty in the players, production and the singing. And I hope they have as much fun listening to it as we did making it.