Friday, January 21, 2005

Down by LAW

Posted By on Fri, Jan 21, 2005 at 6:19 PM

In 2002, Lee Ann Womack went just a little too far. Her album Something Worth Leaving Behind was a little too poppy, and its attendant photos and video just a tad too glammy (remember the ginormous cleavage shot that screwed up traffic around the West End Tower?), and when pop radio proved not interested, Something (despite its charmingly laid-back '70s vibe) was deemed a flop. She was deemed by many to have at last gotten above her raisin'. Last night Womack formally declared her bid for a country comeback in an invitation-only show at the Ryman, during which she performed her entire new, not-at-all-poppy album There's More Where That Came From in its entirety. The format, more suited to rock operas than cheatin'-lyin'-redemption-rinse-repeat, suggested serious intent, and the music, especially toward the end of the 12-song cycle, occasionally justified the sense of import. That the formalism -- twin fiddles, steel guitar and a program that cutely listed Womack as "soloist" and the band as "The Players of Instruments" -- was never stifling is a tribute to Womack's talent and taste, which are both gloriously intact. If There's More Where That Came From (out February 8) doesn't wind up somewhere in the top 10 of this paper's Country Music Critics' Poll, I'll eat a copy of the (available) vinyl version. Which, incidentally, features the year's most perfect cover art.

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