About this item

Lee Ann Womack doesn't record often, so when she does it's an event. While 2014's The Way I'm Livin' (then her first album in six years) re-established her deft skills as a singer with covers by everyone from Neil Young and Bruce Robison to Mindy Smith and Hayes Carll, here she reclaims the songwriter's mantle, co-authoring six of the album's 14 tracks. Womack re-enlists her husband Frank Liddell, a fellow Texan, as producer. Texas is the key to this set's charm. It was cut at the legendary Sugar Hill Studios (formerly Gold Star Studios) . The arrangements, sound, and song choices reflect Womack's East Texas upbringing, where soul, gospel, blues, and rockabilly influenced the region's honky tonk music. Liddell adds sophisticated, sometimes cinematic arrangements in framing her voice, adding wider textural and timbral dimensions. Opener "All the Trouble, " co-written by Womack and her guitar players Adam Wright and Waylon Payne, opens with her singing atop a moaning, wordless chorus. It kicks into gear with cracking snare, and slide and acoustic guitars painting a backdrop of swampy blues. The title track is painted with warmly distorted electric and fingerpicked nylon-stringed guitars and pedal steel. It's a honky tonk weeper, rendered inconsolable in Womack's delivery. There are excellent cover choices as well. Harlan Howard's "He Called Me Baby" is funkier and dirtier than the Patsy Cline original (which was drenched in strings and horns) , and borrows its gutbucket country-soul chart from Candi Staton's reading. "Shine on a Rainy Day, " by Brent Cobb and Andrew Combs, finds Womack channeling Dusty Springfield, albeit with a psychedelic country chart saturated with fuzzy guitars and a Wurlitzer. "End of the End of the World" is a booming, midtempo parlor waltz that turns the broken love song on its head. "Wicked, " co-written with Wright, is blues-drenched country rock; it's as much an anthem as it is a paean to revenge. Its guitar break is so nasty and noisy it could have been on Baroness record. "Talking Behind Your Back, " co-written with Dean Dillon and Dale Dodson, offers an ironic yet profound twist on the classic "other woman" narrative. Fueled by a woozy pedal steel, Rhodes piano, and shuffling snare, Womack's protagonist is talking to the wife her lover can't get over. Her voice balances the bitter and the sweet in the lyric while her delivery allows restless soul into her country phrasing. The set closes with an all-too-brief but stomping cover of George Jones' "Take the Devil Out of Me, " which was recorded at the original Gold Star in 1959, completing the mix with East Texas honky tonk gospel. The Lonely, the Lonesome & the Gone provides listeners an exceptionally well-rounded portrait of both the mature writer and the iconic singer. What Womack delivers has little to do with Nashville -- a plus -- in favor of polished yet hardcore Texas Americana.



Read Next Recommendation

Discuss with your friends


Report incorrect product information.