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Lee Ann Womack - Call Me Crazy
By: Jim Moulton, CSO Staff Journalist

Lee Ann Womack has tried most formulas of country music, with arguably her best music being in her first couple of traditional country albums. "Never Again", "The Fool", "Little Past Little Rock", and many other great songs. Her last CD which did very well, was titled There's More Where That Came From, which was very traditional, actually was what I was expecting this time. Womack had her most popular CD, titled I Hope You Dance, which was more modern Nashville type country, but that was back in 2000.

So what came out with Call Me Crazy, we have all the familiar Nashville people working with her, and Womack co-wrote most of the songs. Tony Brown produced, and it was mastered by Bob Ludwig of Gateway Mastering, which is a bit unusual in that he usually masters rock CDs, but he's also known as one of the industry greats.

The players included Brent Mason on electric guitar and Bryan Sutton on acoustic, they have played together on many CDs. Paul Franklin's pedal steel seems to be the central instrument. Larry Franklin plays fiddle.

Womack sounds great on the slow, heartbreak ballad "Last Call" which has a haunting melody and is a great performance. What really sticks out in the music is Lee Ann's pure emotive lyrics. "Either Way" is another slow sad song, but it really works, with some real nice electric guitar by Brent Mason.

What does not fit in my opinion is the tacky cardboard cover with her in a scantily clad showgirl outfit. It has nothing to do with the CD. This is probably the first album Womack has done where just about every song is a sad ballad, but a lot of country music is like that. At times it seems overproduced with the layers of guitars and vocals, as opposed to Patty Loveless' new CD which is almost like a live recording, just one track per instrument, not much overdubbing. The finished work, does however give mastering engineer Ludwig plenty of room to work his craft and he takes the music and just gives it incredible tone work, no clipping, just a great recording.

At times, in some of the songs, you can hear the musicians breaking out of the Nashville mold a bit and adding a different, almost alternative sense to the mix. "The Bees" for instance, is an interesting musical composition.

I guess that my Favorite song is "I Think I Know", about what killed Keith Whitley, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. The words just come out in such a vibrant, emotive way, great melody with plenty of memorable hooks.

George Strait joins her in a duet called "Everything But Quits", very well done by the pair. Womack ends the album as she does every album with a spiritual song, this one called "The Story Of My Life", probably the most upbeat song on the whole disc. Personally, I think it is a very well done recording with some very good material, but I do not know how well it will do.

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