For an artist who is so deeply rooted in traditional country music that the cover of her 2005 album, There’s More Where That Came From, was designed to resemble a classic country LP, doing something unique to celebrate next month’s upcoming Record Store Day isn’t surprising.
Womack and her husband/producer Frank Liddell stripped things down to collaborate at their home studio with legendary guitarist/producer Richard Bennett on a one-day session that yielded three tracks for a limited edition 12-inch vinyl release, Trouble in Mind. In addition to the iconic blues tune that serves as the title track, Womack unearthed a rare Roger Miller-penned gem called “Where Have All the Average People Gone,” and pays homage to bluegrass stalwart Ralph Stanley with the gospel number “I’ve Just Seen the Rock of Ages.”
“I love the idea of mixing things up, but stripping them back,” Womack says of the wholly unadorned recordings that will be available at independent record shops on Record Store Day, Saturday, April 18th. “When you make things that basic, you can hear all the commonalities between, say, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Ralph Stanley. When you make those connections, that’s when it gets interesting.”
The stripped-down approach also applies to Womack’s The Way I’m Livin’, a Grammy nominee and critical highlight of 2014’s country LP releases.
“Nowadays everybody’s making everything so big and bombastic, with tons of players,” Womack tells Rolling Stone Country. “Frank put me in a lounge, and the musicians sat around to hear me sing acoustic, just really raw. And then instead of listening to the demo, they’d just listen to me sing it and build from there.”
Another common thread between Trouble in Mind and The Way I’m Livin’ is that the latter LP’s opening track, “Fly,” features her vocal and one guitarist (nine-time CMA Musician of the Year Mac McAnally).
“It starts the record because I looked at it as a palate cleanser,” the singer says of the ethereal tune. “It’s totally different from everything else that comes across your desk. It’s just a lyric, a melody, a singer and a guitar.”