Although she’s in possession of one of country’s most affecting voices (and catalogs) probing the depths of emotional pain, Lee Ann Womack herself is a remarkably composed type in real life. The 48-year-old singer radiates self-possession; however, when talk of her recent Grammy nomination— in the best country album category for her seventh and latest studio album, The Way I’m Livin’—comes up, Womack can’t help but burst into a megawatt grin.
“I kept saying to my husband [producer Frank Liddell, who also worked on the record] you know, ‘are you sure? Check again,’” she smiles, adding that she is “beyond thrilled” with the nod.
The recognition is particularly sweet for several reasons. Womack’s career has spanned nearly two decades—she already has a Grammy award for 2001’s crossover megahit “I Hope You Dance”—but in the case of her latest record, she worked with both a somewhat lengthy gap between albums and the creative daring that comes from making a record strictly on her own terms.
“It feels really good to be where I am right now, because over a career you do a lot of things that you’re like ‘oh that’s not really me I don’t really want to do that,” Womack explains. “But you want to do the best job you can do too; so I’m in a place now where I say no a lot more, and it feels good.”
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“I kind of took a big risk with this record and made a lot of changes,” she continues. “When you try to change things in your career it can take a long time…it’s like a train and I feel it picking up speed a little bit.
“I want to make music that I’m proud of — I know there’s an audience that wants that kind music, and so it makes me feel like I’m doing something right.”
Womack spoke with Ram Country at length about the process of making The Way I’m Livin’, what it’s like to have one’s husband do double-duty as one’s producer, her decision to tour in smaller venues, the state of women in country music today…and how Texas has shaped her admirably rich musical style.
Tune in to the exclusive video interview above for the full story of how the Grammy nominee is truly “livin’!”