En route to her mother’s house in East Texas, Lee Ann Womack, the “I Hope You Dance” American Country singer, got the call that the 6-time CMA Award winner was once again nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year.
And I gotta tell you,” she said by phone, “that news hit me pretty hard in the heart. I am and always will be a country music singer. It’s what I do… It’s what I love… and it’s the thing that truly makes me feel alive. Having the CMA recognize that after the year I’ve had since The Way I’m Livin’ came out really does my heart good.”
And what a year it has been! Starting with a Grammy nomination for Country Album of the Year, Womack earned a pair of CMT Video Music Awards for Female Video for “The Way I’m Livin'” and CMT Performance for her “Crossroads” with John Legend as well as a pair of Americana Music Awards nominations for Artist and Album of the Year.
She’s also co-hosted the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Awards with Jerry Douglas, been part of the Fairfield Four and McCrary Sisters’ PBS “Rock My Soul” gospel special with Lucinda Williams, Amos Lee and Buddy Miller, been part of all-star tributes to Waylon Jennings in Austin and Emmylou Harris in Washington, DC.
I followed my heart,” she offered. “I trusted the music, and I believed that if we let the music dictate everything else would fall into place. It’s been a different year from any other I’ve had since ‘Never Again, Again,’ but in a lot of ways I have the same kind of excitement I had when my first single came out. I didn’t know and every day was an adventure, but oh the things we’ve done!”
If people thought she was crazy to walk away from the multi-platinum world of mainstream country to record the songs that moves the East Texas classicist, Womack’s heart won out. In the process, she earned a rare ***** out of ***** review from USA Today, while Rolling Stone offered Livin’ “feels like something Merle Haggard or Waylon Jennings would have crafted back in the Seventies,” SPIN called it “the best of her career” and Garden & Gun proclaimed, “Nashville is filled with artists making ‘the record they were born to make.’ With Livin’, Womack is one of the few who actually deliver.”
When you get songwriters like Julie Miller, Hayes Carll, Adam Wright, Mando Saenz and Mindy Smith, Neil Young, Bruce Robeson, Brent Cobb, Brennan Leigh and Kenny Price who ‘Tomorrow Night in Baltimore’ for Roger Miller, it’s not letting those writers down. What they bring inspires me. This nomination is as much about them as anyone.”
Womack is now heading West for the “Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival“. But look for the East Texan at Bridgestone Arena on November 3rd as part of ABC’s live telecast of “The 49th Annual Country Music Association Awards.”
Congratulations on your nominations, Lee Ann! They are well deserved…best of luck to you!
Watch Lee Ann’s performance of “The Way I’m Livin'” on Conan: