"Had it all, just too young to know/ but that was 20 years and two husbands ago." - Twenty Years And Two Husbands Ago. - Lee Ann Womack-Dale Dodson-Dean Dillon.

Lee Ann Womack

Texan troubadour Lee Ann Womack charmed with stone country on her 1997 debut disc before making a detour into chart candy.

Now the singer has reverted to her roots on seventh album There's More Where That Came From (MCA.)

Womack nails her return in Chris DuBois-Chris Stapleton title track entrée - cheating song, replete with twin fiddles and motel message on the mast.

"My guilty conscience can't kill my heart's desire/ just like a drop of rain can't put out a raging fire."

But it doesn't stop there - former singing spouse Jason Sellers joins her on harmony on three songs including One's A Couple and Odie Blackman penned hit I May Hate Myself In The Morning.

Both songs mix drinking and guilt of cheating - her hit tells of a couple who wind up back in each other's arms after imbibing.

That video features their daughter Aubrey, fellow Texan rocking country singer Jack Ingram, manager Erv Woolsey but not Sellers or current husband Frank Liddell.

Or even dad Aubry - a disc jockey in hometown Jacksonville on KEBE and KOOI.

One's A Couple finds the singer's character on the dance floor yearning for the man she split with two years earlier.

"They institutionalize people acting like I do/ drinkin' with somebody that ain't in the room."


Womack didn't pen those songs but co-wrote Twenty Years And Two Husbands Ago with One's A Couple tunesmith Dale Dotson and prolific honky tonker Dean Dillon.

"I was in my office with my assistant, Courtney, and she asked about a photograph she had found," Womack, now 38 and mother of two, revealed.

"She asked me where it was taken or something. I said, "Oh, Lord, I don't remember. That was 20 years and two husbands ago." By the time it came out of my mouth, I thought "Oh, my Lord, my life is such a country song!" I immediately called Dale and he and Dean and I got together and wrote that song."

Womack, whose discs include stone country by fellow Texan Bruce Robison, Buddy and Julie Miller, hired Jo Dee Messina session serf Byron Gallimore as producer.

"I had told Byron I'm from Texas, and I wanted to sound like it," said Womack who learned the music side of her craft a decade before expatriate Australian Jedd Hughes at South Plains College in Levelland.

The singer has a delicious dexterity in covering all shades of love - the regret of The Last Time, flippancy in Kostas tune Happiness, timeless state metaphor in When You Get To Me and use of dirty dishes to come clean on yes, cheating, in Painless.

Womack energises working late cheating clues in He Ought To Know That By Now.

Sellers returns on harmonies on historic Sonny Throckmorton tune Waiting For The Sun To Shine - an eighties album title track for Ricky Skaggs - that punctuates Annie Roboff-Marcus Hummon tune What I Miss About Heaven and Stubborn (Psalm 151.)

Womack delivers heavy-duty homilies with vocal vibrance that ensures none of the collateral corn of derivative divas.



"I need something like morphine only better/ I need something like a kiss that lasts forever/ I need something and I need more/ I need something like money that will not burn." - I Need You - Julie Miller .

When Texan temptress Lee Ann Womack burst on the scene with her stone country weepers she was heralded in the same breath as Sara Evans.

Both dynamic divas evoked memories of Loretta Lynn on debut but morphed into the mainstream to soak up success.

Ms Womack, 35 and mother of two, threw history to the wind but not song taste on fourth disc Something Worth Leaving Behind (MCA-Universal.)

Womack chose a pair by Julie Miller and three by fellow Texan Bruce Robison, Gretchen Peters and Matraca Berg.

"There's no other country singer on the radio today I'd rather hear sing my songs," says Julie who joined her singing spouse Buddy and Womack on the CMA Awards to perform her tune Does My Ring Burn Your Finger.

"She makes everybody else sound like they're just fooling around."

Womack grew up in Jacksonville, Texas, listening to her dad spin country discs on radio station KEBE and followed her dream to Nashville in 1986.


She wed fellow Texan troubadour Jason Sellers in 1990 and divorced him in 1997 - the year of her debut hit Never Again, Again on Decca.

But Decca folded and Womack fell pregnant to producer and second spouse Frank Liddell who desked Chris Knight's debut disc.

Now, after selling 3 million copies of third album I Hope You Dance, she can afford to take chances.

Womack recorded riveting versions of Miller's I Need You and Irish folk flavoured Orphan Train.

"When I heard her sing Orphan Train it was like wow she made me think I wrote a really great song" says Miller.

"I feel that she heard somewhat of my own heart in this song. And there aren't that many people who would."

But it's the Brett Beaver-Tom Douglas penned title track, replete with its videogenic imagery of Mona Lisa, Mozart, Amadeus, Warhol, Da Vinci, Monroe and Presley, that has lit up radio and charts.

So much so that a superfluous Matt Serletic pop version is the album finale.


Better value are Womack's cut of Gretchen Peters inspirational I Saw Your Light and her assertive delivery of Berg-Angelo triangle song You Should've Lied.

She also does a credible cut of Robison's self-deprecatory Blame It On Me and teary Red Lane-Hank Cochran-Dale Dodson weeper He'll Be Back.

When You Gonna Run To Me and Talk To Me are soulful radio friendly country pop but don't have idyllic imagery of acoustic Forever Everyday or ruptured romance of Dave Loggins-John Bettis tune Closing This Memory Down.

She covers all musical bases in this disc, helping kick start the sales recovery of the genre.

Ironically, Womack does it with strings but will be swamped by The Dixie Chicks' whose reversal to roots is a bigger barn-burner.

The Chicks music, spawned in the O Brother Where Art Thou era, has one distinct advantage - it's surfing the U.S. airwaves and selling here with none.

So who is Womack's inspiration?

"I love Buddy Miller because I like the approach he takes," Womack says of a man returning here for a solo tour in October.

"He makes his records in his living room, and they are spectacular. It's awesome to know there are labels spending the money they do cutting records that just don't do anything for you. Then you take Buddy's record that he made in his kitchen and it just makes me want to get up on top of a table and dance."

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