By MORGAN KING – STAFF WRITER
Lee Ann Womack has performed at the concert for the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, at Maya Angelou’s Celebration of Joy Rising Memorial concert, for multiple Presidents, and sung award-winning duets with Willie Nelson and George Strait. To add to her repertoire, she has now performed live at Weisiger Theatre in the Norton Center on Sat., Jan. 17.
Director of the Norton Center of the Arts Steve Hoffman was excited to add Womack’s show to the diverse series schedule.
“We work on adding shows throughout the year,” Hoffman said. “In September, we met with several agents in Nashville to discuss opportunities and Womack’s name came up. We continued to work on making the show work and we were thrilled to announce it.”
A native of Jacksonville, TX, Womack is best known for her 2001 single “I Hope You Dance” off her album of the same name. The song earned the title of Single of the Year at both the Academy of Country Music Awards and the Country Music Association Awards. Her other accolades include four Academy of Country Music Awards, four Country Music Association Awards, and a Grammy.
The Way I’m Livin’ is the Womack’s first studio album in seven years. The album was produced by Frank Liddell, Womack’s husband and famed producer of Miranda Lambert and the Eli Young Band.
Womack received wide acclaim for her latest album, most notably from The Wall Street Journal (“She digs in like she’s making up for lost time”) and The New York Times (“Ms Womack is an exceptional singer with a plangent voice designed for lingering on the notes and words, especially plaintive ones…”).
Womack’s publicist, Ashley Moyer, agrees with their view. “The Way I’m Livin’ is an unvarnished distillation of Womack’s clear-eyed take on the real world,” Moyer said. “This incredible collection highlights song crafters such as Chris Knight, Mindy Smith, Julie Miller, Mando Saenz, Hayes Carll, Neil Young, Bruce Robison, and Roger Miller. Womack and Liddell curated the selection of every song on The Way I’m Livin’ from the songwriting community that is such a vital part of their lives.”
A week after it was announced that Womack would perform at Centre, she was nominated for a Grammy award for Best Country Album of the Year.
“We were thrilled to discover that Womack’s album was nominated for a Grammy one week after announcing the concert,” Hoffman said. “The new music is so personal and real. You get a feeling of moving past challenges and appreciating life and what it brings.”
Her performance in the smaller Weisiger Theatre is deliberate. Since The Way I’m Livin’ was recorded almost entirely live, Womack wishes to create that same intimate atmosphere during her live performances.
“Part of the appeal of her show is that she wants to play more intimate theaters in support of her new album,” Hoffman said. “The new music has a much more Americana and singer/songwriter vibe to it so Weisiger Theatre will be intimate and the audience can nearly share the stage with this amazing artist.”
Fans packed into Weisiger Theatre the night of the performance, eagerly awaiting the country star. When she walked on stage in mile-high stiletto ankle boots, the crowd knew they would be thoroughly entertained. Throughout the concert, Womack shared funny anecdotes about growing up in Texas and how she met her second husband.
Womack’s band complimented her performance perfectly. They impressed the audience with their proficiency on multiple instruments.
She created a personal relationship with each audience member and sang a variety of songs from her albums; however, her hit single “I Hope You Dance” got the biggest response from her audience for as soon as the band played the opening chords, the crowd cheered enthusiastically. Overall, it was a wonderful night of country music at Weisiger Theatre hosted by an extremely talented Nashville legend.