Updated: Sep 19, 2019
Have you ever gone to a Country concert, and when the artist you went to see pulled out a covers card – as all are prone to do – the songs are usually Rock hits from the 1980s or before? Music fans typically are a little more varied than they used to be – even in the Country realm. Still, it’s refreshing to go to a show and hear covers from artists such as George Jones, Lefty Frizzell, and Don Williams.
If that sounds like your kind of party, might I strongly suggest Lee Ann Womack.
The longtime fan favorite brought her style of Country to the historic Renfro Valley Entertainment Center this past Saturday night (June 16), and the music she performed for the hour and forty-minutes she was on stage pushed the twang factor to the max – delighting everyone in attendance in Eastern Kentucky.
The show featured a mixture of Womack classics and new music from her excellent disc, The Lonesome, The Lonely, and The Gone. Of the older material, fans reacted strongest to her 1997 introduction to audiences, “Never Again, Again.” Though the song only peaked at No. 23 upon its’ release, somebody must have been listening, as fans were singing along with each and every word. However, just like with George Jones, nobody was quite keeping up with the vocal acrobatics and nuances of Womack’s voice. Whether on that song or her 2005 tribute to back-street affairs, “I May Hate Myself In The Morning,” the singer can wring as much raw and unadulterated emotion out of every word as ANYONE. Special note must be made of her opening performance, a blistering run through “Does My Ring Burn Your Finger.” It’s a song that didn’t even make the Top-20, but when you hear her do it, you simply won’t give a damn.
Also on tap were several songs from the new disc, including “All The Trouble,” “Bottom of The Barrel,” and the mysterious “Mama Lost Her Smile.” In another time and era, either of these songs would be radio hits and award nominees, but that takes nothing away from their power or magnitude.
Perhaps the highlight of the evening was when Womack gathered her ace band around a single microphone to perform a chilling version of “Wayfaring Stranger” which brought to mind Emmylou’s iconic version from Roses In The Snow. You could have heard a pin drop on that one, as well as her faithful take on Lefty’s “The Long Black Veil.” More upbeat – at least in tempo – in her choice of covers were the honky-tonk bounce of Jones’s “You’re Still On My Mind” or the throwback vibe of Don Gibson’s “Oh Lonesome Me.” The night ended with a run through Williams’s “Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good” that sent the crowd home wanting a little bit more – or maybe a lot more!
People ask today “Where is Country Music?” or “What happened to Country Music?” I guess it’s inevitable that things change, and it’s tough to begrudge anyone success. And, I’m not going to. But, that classic sound is very much alive and well. Google the name Lee Ann Womack. Stream her music. Buy her albums….and if she’s within a few hours of your town…..by all means, go. You won’t be sorry! There are few in the history of Country Music any better, today, tomorrow, and forever. That’s a dramatic statement, but she’s worth each and every word and letter of it!