Lee Ann Womack
About making every moment count.
When Lee Ann Womack walked onstage to accept the 2005 Country Music Association Album of the Year Award for There’s More Where That Came From, she wasn’t striking a blow for modern country music. She’d already won Single of the Year for “I May Hate Myself in the Morning” and Vocal Event of the Year for “Good News, Bad News,” her duet with George Strait – and that night spoke pretty loudly about the things that the petite Texan with the pure voice valued: great songs, real life and classic country music.
“You don’t ever make records to win awards – or even to make big statements,” says the woman who’s won six – including Female Vocalist of the Year ‐‐ and been nominated for 20 CMA Awards. “You’re trying to catch a moment of someone’s life, and in my case, make the best kind of country music you can, because country music – to me – is real life.”
Not that Womack’s kind of country doesn’t blur formats and cross genres. Her ubiquitous 6 week #1 “I Hope You Dance” was heard on every kind of radio station except Urban, and her duet partners range from Willie Nelson to Harry Connick, Alan Jackson to the Blind Boys of Alabama, Buddy Miller to George Strait.
She has also cut songs from progressive roots writers Julie Miller, Jim Lauderdale and Bruce Robison, as well as young writers like Natalie Hemby, Marla Cannon and Waylon Payne and legends Dean Dillon, Ronnie Bowman and Rodney Crowell – and written the seminal “Twenty Years and Two Husbands Ago.” For the mother of two, it comes down to one thing: “Trying to be true to the music, the story and what I can sing”
Womack comes by her mission honestly. Raised the child of a pair of teachers, her father was also a country music disc jockey who would take his small daughter to the radio station where he was on the air near Jacksonville, Texas. It was there that the Grammy‐winner was exposed to the best classic country music: Nelson, Merle Haggard, Western swing, vintage Dolly Parton and Ray Price.
A stint at South Plains Jr College in Levelland, Texas – the first college that offered a country music degree – led to a stint at Belmont University’s Music Business program. But the Grammy Award‐winner’s heart was always in making music, and it wasn’t long before she’d found an internship at MCA Records and a songwriting deal at legendary music publisher Sony/Tree.
With her first album yielding the breakout hit “The Fool,” as well as the pristine Wurlitzer jukebox feeling “Never Again,” Womack found herself established in a big way Winning the Academy of Country Music Top New Female Award and Billboard’s Top New Artist, she was on her way.
“A Little Past Little Rock” and “I’ll Think of a Reason Later,” from her sophomore Some Things I Know, continued her hit‐making roll. With “I Hope You Dance,” which also won the Grammy and CMA Song of the Year Award, Womack found herself singing at the Nobel Peace Prize concert, “A Capital Fourth” in Washington, DC and on “Oprah” at the request of Dr. Maya Angelou. “You can’t dream these things,” explains the woman who’s spent the last year as part of the George Strait/Reba McEntire tour. “You can only set your eye on making music you think matters, telling stories that feel right and trying to be the best you’re capable of being.”
That extends to giving back. Beyond stints home schooling her girls, Womack is active in a variety of causes. Most visibly is JoinMyVillage.com, deemed a click‐to‐commit‐social change initiative benefiting the women and children of Malawi – and focusing on girls by bringing in women teachers, supporting education, creating housing and helping the mothers’ start businesses and earn better livings.
“You want to give back, to make a difference,” Womack explains. “In this very crazy busy world, this is as easy a way as I have found. You go to the site, click on a link, watch a video that explains what the people in Malawi are trying to do – and money gets donated. It’s low impact, but it cumulatively makes a huge difference.”
Making a difference, whether in her music, people’s lives or the world beyond her, is a big part of who Lee Ann Womack is. Quietly setting her sites on various projects – including the studio with her husband Frank Liddell, a producer known for his work with Miranda Lambert, David Nail and Chris Knight, recording with a variety of artists and being active with www.JoinMyVillage ‐‐ the woman with the silvery voice is about making every moment count, every song matter and every memory be all that it can be.
I Hope You Dance
I May Hate Myself in the Morning
I'l Think of a Reason Later