Lee Ann Womack visited the set of Conan Thursday evening — nearly 14 years to the day after her first appearance on Late Night With Conan O’Brien, where she sang “I Hope You Dance” — to rip through the title track of The Way I’m Livin’.
Joining her were a group of A-list session musicians, including drummer Matt Chamberlain and electric guitarist Jedd Hughes. Brendan O’Brien, the chart-topping producer behind albums by Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam, sat in on bass, while Ethan Ballinger, a more consistent member of Womack’s backing band, played acoustic guitar. Together, the group breathed new life into “The Way I’m Livin,'” a rough-edged roots-rocker about drinking the devil’s brew. [Watch the performance above.]
“When you do these shows,” Womack tells Rolling Stone Country, “you want to make every one of them special somehow… not just do what you’ve done everywhere else! We did Conan when “Dance” was breaking, and they were a show that so got music. If I was going to pull together a band like this, I wanted it to be somewhere people appreciate the musicianship.”
It’s been a busy month for Womack, who attended the Grammy Awards last Sunday as a nominee in the Best Country Album category. After heading back to Nashville, she’ll start rehearsals for the Country to Country Festival, which will take Womack and a handful of other country heavy-hitters — including Lady Antebellum, Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan — to a handful of European countries in early March.