6. Lee Ann Womack, 'The Way I'm Livin''
A psychiatrist could have a field day with Lee Ann Womack's captivating, Grammy-nominated The Way I'm Livin', essentially a 13-track character study of lost souls. With her seventh studio release — which came after a brutally long, seven-year break — the singing spitfire returned with lyrical storylines of reckless rebels and lonely singletons, reclaiming her throne as the queen of authentic country heartache songs. The LP's lean, organic musical arrangements — all crafted by producer/husband Frank Liddell and the studio musicians after hearing Womack sing each song acoustic — complement, but never overwhelm, her gifted voice. B.D.