Yesterday, Lee Ann Womack paid a visit to The View to perform on their special salute to the troops. Check it out!
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When “The View” called Grammy-winner Lee Ann Womack to appear on a special show honoring the military, she was scheduled for a vacation with her family. But considering the show – where she’d appeared after receiving her 2015 Best Country Album Grammy nomination for The Way I’m Livin’ – she asked her family if she could take a two-day detour to Manhattan before meeting them in Montana for their camping trip.
“You plan these things with your family so far in advance, and everyone starts looking forward to it,” says the East Texan. “Then you realize all these folks have been looking forward to being reunited as a family, and what else would you do? Thankfully, Frank and Anna share my feelings about families who’ve been separated being reunited.”
Womack literally rebooked, rescheduled and returned to New York to perform a very intimate version of Hayes Carll’s vintage country-feeling “Chances Are” for the audience, many of whom had been brought in for this very special show. When she finished the ballad, there was a moment of silence, then the crowd erupted into applause; ultimately turning the cheers into a standing ovation.
“I wasn’t really sure if it was going to go over,” says the 6-time Country Music Association Award winner. “I know how much I love classic country music, but it’s not for everyone. Then when I finished and saw people’s faces, there wasn’t a person sitting there who couldn’t identify with what the song’s about: making mistakes, or decisions that didn’t work out – and still wanting to hang onto that hope, because that hope is all there is.”
Womack understands. Stepping away from the mainstream record business, she’s spent the last year supporting The Way I’m Livin’, a stripped back progressive country album featuring songs from Grammy-nominee Adam Wright, Julie Miller, Chris Knight, Bruce Robison and Neil Young. The Wall Street Journal was the first to recognize her passion, writing “she sounds as if she’s making up for lost time.”
The only country album on Esquire’s Top Albums of 2014, Livin’ received a rare four star (out of four) review from USA Today, while Rolling Stone offered it “feels like something Merle Haggard or Waylon Jennings would have crafted back in the Seventies.” Spin was more succinct: “The best of her career.”
Beyond the Grammy nomination, Womack received two Americana Music Association nominations – Artist and Album of the Year – and two CMT Video Music Award nominations – Female Video (“The Way I’m Livin’”) and CMT Performance (“Crossroads” with John Legend). Just as importantly, she found herself recording with Dr. Ralph Stanley, part of the Fairfield Four and McCrary Sisters’ PBS “Rock My Soul” gospel special with Lucinda Williams, Amos Lee and Buddy Miller, part of tribute shows for Emmylou Harris in D.C. and Waylon Jennings in Austin and co-hosted the International Bluegrass Music Awards with Jerry Douglas.
You can see the performance and an interview about her incredible year August 11 on ABC’s “The View.” Check your local listings for air time.
Fresh from “Outlaw: A Tribute To Waylon Jennings,” the icon and alternative all-star celebration with Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Sturgill Simpson, Kacey Musgraves and Alison Krauss of the original Outlaw at Austin’s Moody Theater, Lee Ann Womack brings her own songs to tastemaker site Daytrotter for an intimate acoustic performance. Drawing on several songs from her Grammy-nominated The Way I’m Livin‘, the Lone Star woman pulls back the curtain on some of the album’s more wrenching songs.
“It’s scary how many more ways there are to discover music,” Womack marvels. “When I was a little girl, my biggest treat was to go to the radio station where my dad was a disc jockey, because he’d let me spread all the records out on the floor and really look at what the songs were, who played on’em, wrote’em. I thought I’d found a treasure chest, and it let me know so much more about what the music was… I felt so special.”
“Now because of the internet, there are all these other platforms and places you can go and discover things you might not hear about otherwise. You know, just in seeing one thing, you get led to something else… and it can be so good! So I love the idea of getting out there and playing this music at places like Daytrotter, because who knows who might hear it and get turned onto some progressive, but hardcore country? To be able to do that, especially as much as I love to play, well, there’s nothing better.
Womack’s had quite a year since her return with The Way I’m Livin’. Beyond the Grammy nod, she’s picked up Americana nominations for Artist and Album of the Year, as well as a pair of CMT Music Video Awards nominations for Female Video for “The Way I’m Livin’” and CMT Performance for her “Crossroads” with John Legend. She also finished near the top of the Nashville Scene Country Critics’ Poll and was named one of 2015’s Top 10 Albums by Esquire.
If the time away from touring worried anyone, you can’t tell from the response to Lee Ann Womack’s first real shows since the release of her Grammy-nominated The Way I’m Livin’. After topping critics lists, including Esquire’s Top 10 Albums of 2014, the East Texan has wowed the British press as part of the CMA’s C2C Festival and watched her two snowed out Nashville City Winery shows turn into three on April 6, 7 and 8.
With her May 7 date at Dallas’ Kessler Theater also selling out upon the tickets being put on sale, Womack is making it a double! Working with the venue to add a show on May 6, the woman who begins an East Coast run April 18 at Ridgefield, CT’s Ridgefield Playhouse couldn’t be happier.
“I’ve been dying to take this new music out to the fans – and the people who love this music,” Womack says. “It’s been so long, and you want to do it right. Finding great listening rooms, finding places where it’s about the music just thrills me. That the response in Texas is so strong? That fires me up! I’m so glad that the Kessler folks were able to make the night before happen.”
Certainly the British press, notoriously opinionated about their kind of country, couldn’t have been more celebratory following the 6-time Country Music Association Award winner’s appearance at the C2C Festival’s O2 Arena show. The woman The Guardian called a “Nashville legend” was singled out as “a magnetic presence who has a pealing, sad voice and the fervor of a street preacher. She effortlessly switches from the quotidian to the mystic; indeed, real-life circumstances – ‘solitary thinkin’ and ‘lonesome drinkin’, as she puts it – seem to necessitate her encounters with the devil and God.”
The Guardian also notes. “Womack, with her bleak, beautiful songs that circle around themes of alcoholism, religion and self-loathing, has positioned herself firmly on the traditionalist side of the divide,” while The Times offered, “Lee Ann Womack spun a set of pure gold from a succession of songs that summed up the human condition in a way that only a good country music narrative can… With her tumbling blond hair and a strong, aching soprano, Womack had something of Dolly Parton’s mixture of humour, sincerity and guile as she reminisced with a wry smile about a time that was Twenty Years and Two Husbands Ago.”
“The fans have been terrific over here,” Womack says. “In Dublin (also at the C2C Festival), they sang back to us. As someone who wants their music to hold people’s lives, that’s the greatest gift you can have. And I can’t wait to come back to the States and play all this music for the people back home. Knowing they’re responding to these shows in the listening rooms, which is different, tells me we’re going in the right direction.”
Having just announced the release of a vinyl-only 3 song EP Trouble In Mind – recorded with iconic guitarist Richard Bennett (Mark Knopfler, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle) – for Record Store Day April 18, the Grammy-winning vocalist is gearing up for a big spring. In addition to the triple play at Nashville’s City Winery, Womack has a string of spring dates to bring her to fans of roots music along the Eastern seaboard.
Click READ MORE for Lee Ann Womack The Way I’m Livin’ East Coast Tour Dates: