Lee Ann Womack

The Season for Romance

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Cardinal rule number one for introducing new holiday songs amidst a sea of newly arranged classics: Make them compelling! No doubt she hopes that listeners will slow dance to the title track of her first holiday offering, but, despite its sweet sentiment, it's one of the handful of bland tracks amidst many that are far more interesting. The most unique choice Lee Ann Womack makes is moving away from her comfy country roots and doing a traditional jazz/big band-flavored party for the season at hand. Her wry duet of "Baby It's Cold Outside" with Harry Connick, Jr. is fully of sultry cool and sassy personality -- qualities the disc's other ballads could use more of. The medley of "Let It Snow/Winter Wonderland" is rendered in a classic '50s crooner fashion, with rising splashes of horn section complementing her lush vocals. That same tenderness serves her well on a sparse, folksy arrangement of "Silent Night," a mood she balances with sassy swingers like "The Man With the Bag." Even if there's some unevenness here, the disc in general lives up to its title concept.

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