Music News

Lee Ann Womack

To listen to country radio in recent years, you'd think human frailty had been tossed on the ash heap of history, for nearly every story pays off with an upbeat, morally uplifting climax. Lee Ann Womack, however, dominated this year's Country Music Critics' Poll not only by reviving the classic honky-tonk sound of her East Texas childhood, but also by restoring sin and human weakness to country music. Critics from all over North America who voted in the sixth annual poll recognized that she was singing about life not as it ought to be, but as it is. After so many country singers -- sounding like perky cheerleaders or pompous preachers -- had assured us that temptation could be banished by good thoughts and inflexible rules, Womack came along to admit that she's just like us: Sometimes she gives in to temptation, too. After singing the title line to "I May Hate Myself in the Morning," she confesses, "But I'm gonna love you tonight."
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Geoffrey Himes