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Lee Ann Womack promises 'There's More Where That Came From'

June 15, 2005 - Lee Ann Womack says one of her career goals is to make a variety of albums that each have a different feel and style to them.

"Definitely throughout my short career so far, eight years, I've tried to do some different kinds of things," she said in a recent interview. "I just think that throughout the rest of my career, you'll see me try a bunch of different kinds of things."

That outlook has become apparent over the last five years as Womack has come into prominence as one of the rising stars in country music.

In 2000, she exploded onto the forefront of country with "I Hope You Dance," a rootsy CD that sold 3 million copies on the strength of the title song, which was a multiformat hit. Womack followed that effort in 2002 with "Something Worth Leaving Behind," a CD which for the most part set aside the traditional country leanings of "I Hope You Dance" in favor of a lush cross-over pop sound.

Now with her new CD, "There's More Where That Came From," Womack has gone back to her 1960s and '70s country roots with an acoustic-flavored country CD that evokes the classic records of singers like Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette. As much as musical diversity is a goal for Womack, she also noted that there was nothing calculated about how "There's More Where That Came From" grew into a classic-style country record.

"I just cut the best songs I could find and cut them the way I felt like they needed to be cut and threw it out there, just like I usually do," she said.

Whatever the artistic intentions, "There's More Where That Came From" has gotten off to a decent start, debuting at No. 12 on Billboard magazine's album chart and producing a top-10 hit in the lead single "I May Hate Myself in the Morning."

This is a notable contrast from "Some-thing Worth Leaving Behind." The title song was released as the lead single, and when it failed to connect, the CD wound up dead in the water. It stalled out with sales of 287,000. It was a stark setback for Womack, 38, who up to that time, had en-joyed a steady rise on the country scene.

The daughter of a country music disc jockey, Womack grew up in Jacksonville, Texas. She spent a decade in Nashville, though, before her 1997 self-titled debut put her on the map with a No. one hit, "The Fool," and album sales of more than 1 million copies.

After another successful CD, "Some Things I Know," Womack scored her big breakthrough with "I Hope You Dance," whose title track went on to earn virtually every major song of the year award.

Womack said that when she first came across the tune, she had no idea that it would have such huge appeal.

"I just thought it was, in my mind it was a pretty cool song. It reminded me of my kids," said Womack, who has two daughters. "I liked the melody, so we cut it."

But Womack was shut out for award nominations in 2003 and 2004, as "Some-thing Worth Leaving Behind" floundered.

"There's More Where That Came From," though, seems to be restoring some of Wo-mack's lost momentum. It has been receiving rave reviews, with many critics calling it the best mainstream country album so far in 2005.

The enthusiasm for the CD is justified.

Relying on the kind of instrumentation — acoustic guitars, fiddle, piano and steel guitar — that's rarely heard these days as many country artists are rocking out in an effort to appeal to a pop audience, "There's More Where That Came From" is centered on strong vocal melodies and Womack's sweet, full-bodied voice.

The title song, "I May Hate Myself In The Morning" and "Twenty Years and Two Husbands Ago" are among the tracks with particularly appealing vocal melodies and sound like they would have been hits during more traditionally leaning times in country music.

"There's More Where That Came From" also gets strength from the thematic unity of the songs. The CD largely is about romantic survival, with many songs touching on the darker aspects of love and lust. "One's a Couple" finds its character still too wounded from a breakup to think about romance.

"I May Hate Myself In The Morning" captures the excitement and guilt of hooking up with an old flame. "Painless" gives the album a classic breakup song, while "He Oughta Know That by Now" captures the ache of an empty relationship.

Despite the way the songs relate, Womack said she didn't intend to make a concept album. For that matter, she didn't go into the project planning for it to be so rooted in classic country.

"I think it was just I found a song called 'I May Hate Myself in the Morning,' loved it and wanted to cut that and look for songs that would make sense on the same project as that," she said. "It sort of took shape as it went along. It wasn't something I set out to do in the beginning."

Lee Ann Womack opens for Toby Keith Friday, June 17, at UMB Bank Pavilion. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show, which also features Shooter Jennings, cost $67.75 for reserved seats and $32.75 for lawn tickets.

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