The Way I’m Livin’ marks studio album number six for Lee Ann Womack. Released by Sugar Hill Records on September 23rd 2014, it is also her first release in almost six years since her 2008 album Call Me Crazy. Womack’s new album is a perfect blend of fresh and traditional country sounds. Six years was definitely worth the wait for this amazing country vocalist.
“Fly” totally sets the mood for the entire disc. As the opening track, it is mellow, smooth, and showcases those wonderful vocals that country music has missed the past six years. Penned by Brent Cobb and Reed Foehl “Fly” is a good story song about wanting to be with someone who is no longer around.
“All His Saints” picks up the tempo as the second song on the disc. Written by Mindy Smith who has some strong songs about faith tied into music. I enjoyed the track. It had a great pace. With an element of religion it was purely about having faith and nothing more than that.
“Chances Are” became one of the first favorites off of the album. I loved the lyrics. Written by Hayes Carll who has written and recorded a handful of country songs, including some that belong to the soundtrack of the film Country Strong I thought it was a great story song. The song fit Womack’s vocals perfectly and turned out to be one of my favorite ballads on the album.
“The Way I’m Livin” is the title track written by Adam Wright. Wright has written for other artists such as Alan Jackson. The lyrics have a great country sound and allow Womack to show off her range and vocal techniques. It has a bit of sass and a great tempo.
“Send It On Down” is hands down my favorite track on this album. Often I hear songs and after a while you don’t hear any emotion or feelings. The cornerstones to a good country song is one you can do more than listen to. A country song you can feel deep down in your bones. “Send It On Down” did just that. While I did not totally identify with the lyrics themselves, there is something so raw, real, and pure about Womack’s vocals. Listening to the song is more like listening in to a private conversation with God, than a well written country song. Penned by Chris Knight and David Leone they managed to write a great song that was only captured musically by Womack.
“Don’t Listen to the Wind” is a song about not listening to the past through all the sounds that surround us. The wind and the rain. It is one of the more up tempo cuts off the album. It has a heavier sound than the rest of ‘The Way I’m Livin”. Once again Womack does not disappoint with her performance on the track.
“Same Kind Of Different” is another one that I would play over and over again. It is a great love song. I loved each and every word written by Natalie Hemby and Adam Hood in this song. I fell in love with how easy it was to see myself in the same light as the song projects. To let us know we are all so very different, but all the same. It had a great message and was well put together. Every element blended perfectly.
“Out on the Weekend” was written by Neil Young and released on his 1972 album Harvest. Womack took a classic Young song and made it her own. When the song came on, I turned it up, fell into the lyrics, and had to think as to why it sounded so familiar. It was a great selection to the album. Womack is very inventive and that shows on this track. Though the musical score can easily be compared to the original, it is Womack’s crystal clear vocals that take this song to new and fresh.
“Nightwind” had a classic sound. I loved how Womack used her higher range to pull off the song. The lyrics had a George Jones/Merle Haggard-esque take that I enjoyed. Bruce Robinson has written some great songs for Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, and George Strait, it was only a matter of time before Womack got her hands on one of his great tunes.
“Sleeping with the Devil” had some great lyrics. It had the feeling of an original Loretta Lynn tune. The song tied in perfectly to the entire album. It rings with that sweet steel sound. The lyrics are a little tongue-in-cheek implying she isn’t a huge fan of who she has been spending her more intimate moments with.
“Not Forgotten You” enters Bruce Robinson’s second addition to the album. Another well written and performed song. It is a great story about letting go. We all have someone we just can’t forget about. I loved playing this cut over and over again.
“Tomorrow Night in Baltimore” is another up tempo cut that balances out the album. It is a great story song, from start to finish it carries you through the beginning to the end. Originally a Roger Miller tune, Womack shows that once again she can make any song her own, by changing the perspective and using her voice to add originality.
“Whenever I Come Around” was a great way to round out the entire album. Mando Saenz is no stranger to country music. Womack’s selection of the song, just adds to the album and leaves the final track ending on a great note.
I was totally impressed with The Way I’m Livin’. I was nervous with Womack being on a new record label and not having released any major material in almost six years. A lot of work and dedication went into this album. It can be heard note for note. There is great consistency on The Way I’m Livin’ between Womack’s vocals and her carefully selected songs. Womack’s voice is in top shape and she has such a presence in her songs that any other female artist would love to posses as well. Fortunately for Womack, not every artist has the same special gift as her. This album won’t be leaving my CD player for quite a while.