Lee Ann Womack

Some Things I Know

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On Lee Ann Womack's self-titled debut album, she moved effortlessly from traditional country balladry to honky tonk to country-pop, but on this second effort, her varied styles have melded into a prosaic Nashville sound for the '90s. To be sure, Womack's voice, an achingly sweet instrument not unlike Dolly Parton's, is still one of the best in country music, but stylistically, there's little here to hold the listener's interest. "A Little Past Little Rock" is a prime example. Lyrically, the song is predictable: "I'm a little past Little Rock and a long way from over you." The strings from the Nashville String Machine and the "ooh"s and "ah"s in the background contribute to the blandness of the track, and even such studio stars as Brent Mason on electric guitar and Jelly Roll Johnson on harmonica only play tastefully and without inspiration. The album's hilarious highlight, "I'll Think of a Reason Later," sounds like anything else on the radio in the late '90s, but on this album it stands out from the too laid-back sound of the rest of the songs. It seems that producer Mark Wright has made an effort to soften Womack's sound to make it more palatable to country radio, but in the process he has removed the soul of her music. Hopefully, next time out they'll return to the style that brought her a CMA Female Vocalist of the Year nomination in 1998.

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