Lee Ann Womack songs are some of the most traditional-sounding in contemporary country music.
Since her debut in 1997, Womack has fought to keep traditional elements in her music, blending those influences with more contemporary productions to create songs that are both modern and classic. Her penchant for finding some of the best-written, most substantial material to work with, as well as her signature vocal delivery, differentiates her from any other commercially successful country singer of her generation.
The Boot celebrates Womack's body of work with this list of the Top 10 Lee Ann Womack Songs:
"I'll Think of a Reason Later"From: 'Some Things I Know' (1998)
Womack scored one of her biggest early hits with "I'll Think of a Reason Later," the second single from her second album. Written by Tony Martin and Tim Nichols, the song portrays Womack as a feisty woman scorned, expressing her disdain for her ex's new woman. It reached No. 2 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart and even reached the mainstream Top 40.
"The Fool"From: 'Lee Ann Womack' (1997)
After a marginally successful first single with "Never Again, Again," Womack scored her first big hit with "The Fool." The haunting ballad tells the story of a woman confronting her man's ex: "I'm the fool in love with the fool / Who's still in love with you." Womack's vocal delivery is the perfect interpretation of the song's emotional content, revealing her as one of the great country stylists of her generation. "The Fool" reached No. 2 in the country charts.
"The Way I'm Livin'"From: 'The Way I'm Livin'' (2014)
Womack returned to country music after a long absence with "The Way I'm Livin'," earning universal critical acclaim. The album's title song and first single stands out from everything else on country radio today, describing a battle with the Devil himself: "One little drop was all it took / To get my name in his book."
"You've Got to Talk to Me"From: 'Lee Ann Womack' (1997)
The third single from Womack's self-titled debut album was a change of pace. The more uptempo track mixed in pop production elements for a polished, commercial sound that still reflected the singer's traditional influences. "You've Got to Talk to Me" spent 22 weeks on the Hot Country Songs chart, peaking at No. 2 early in 1998.
"Does My Ring Burn Your Finger"From: 'I Hope You Dance' (2000)
Womack took a big risk by releasing "Does My Ring Burn Your Finger" as the fourth single from her breakthrough third studio album. Written by Buddy and Julie Miller, the decidedly bluegrass slant of "Does My Ring Burn Your Finger" was at odds with country radio trends at the time. The lyrics address a lover who has left: "Did my ring burn your finger / Did my love weigh you down?"
"(Now You See Me) Now You Don't"From: 'Some Things I Know' (1998)
Womack just missed the Top 10 with the third single from her second album. Written by Tony Lane, Jess Brown and David Lee, "(Now You See Me) Now You Don't" is an uptempo track that perfectly blends the traditional and commercial influences of her music into a seamless, made-for-radio creation. Womack portrays a woman getting ready to leave a dying relationship: "You might catch a glimpse of my taillights in the dust / And if you notice something missin' / Well, it's me."
"Ashes By Now"From: 'I Hope You Dance' (2000)
The second single from Womack's game-changing third album was a cover of a song written and previously released by Rodney Crowell. The song is from the perspective of someone who's holding onto a love that's not good for them: "As much as you've burned me, I should be ashes by now." Her inventive arrangement and top-notch vocal performance took her version to No. 4.
"I May Hate Myself in the Morning"From: 'There's More Where That Came From' (2005)
Womack returned to fine traditional form with the release of "I May Hate Myself in the Morning." The song is outlined by a simple acoustic guitar figure, with steel guitar and string fills. The lyric is classic country, addressing a universal theme: "I may hate myself in the morning, but I'm gonna love you tonight." The song reached No. 10 and also won a CMA Award for Single of the Year.
"A Little Past Little Rock"From: 'Some Things I Know' (1998)
Womack scored a No. 2 hit with the first single from her second album. Written by Brett Jones, Tony Lane and Jess Brown, "A Little Past Little Rock" displays once again Womack's effortless ability to deliver the emotional intent of a song. The narrator is leaving a troubled relationship in the rearview mirror: "Don't know where I'll go or what I'll do / I'm a little past Little Rock / But a long way from over you."
"I Hope You Dance"From: 'I Hope You Dance' (2000)
Few artists ever get to enjoy a career record the likes of "I Hope You Dance." The title song of Womack's third studio album was a sweeping, almost cinematic track that offered inspiration to future generations: "When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance." The song's simple, hopeful message caught on with listeners, reaching No. 1 in country and adult contemporary and winning a Grammy for Best Country Song. In 2014, Womack was invited to perform the song at Maya Angelou's memorial service.