Review – Lee Ann Womack’s “The Way I’m Livin'”

Everyone knows country music artist Lee Ann Womack, whether they realize it or not. This is because everyone has surely heard Womack’s biggest hit “I Hope You Dance” at some point in their life. You’ve either heard it at a wedding reception, a school dance or those “Live a Better Life” PSAs they play on TV all of the time. “I Hope You Dance” went #1 on the country and pop charts, along with winning a Grammy. It made Womack a household name. After having such a huge hit, it’s hard to follow it up. She also dealt with label problems. This explains the six year absence of new music from Womack. After parting ways with MCA Nashville in 2012, Womack signed with Sugar Hill Records in April and is now set to release her new album The Way I’m Livin’ on September 23. She revealed to the Wall Street Journal a couple of weeks ago her first single from it, the album’s title track. And today I’m going to review it.

You will be able to tell right away that “The Way I’m Livin'” is an acoustic song rooted in the traditions of country music. This song is a traditional country song without a doubt, but it feels fresh and new still. This is the kind of sound all country artists need to be striving for, which is honoring tradition and brining new elements in to make it fresh. The song itself is about a woman living a life of sin. This sin is brought into the woman’s life by a man who offers her a drink and would later represent the “devil” ruining her life. Even though the woman knows she is living the life of sin, it’s just feels too right to give it up. Yet she seems to pleads to her mom for help. The emotion of the song is split between desperation and satisfaction and the songwriting perfectly gets this across. One of the best lines in the song is: “You know I’d change if I could/But being bad it feels so good.” Adam Wright’s writing is fantastic.

The instrumentation is absolutely phenomenal. It’s really hard to explain and is something you just need to hear for yourself. The guitar and violin play goes together seemlessly to give the song its new roots feel. I like the hints of folk influence throughout the song too that makes the song feel seasoned. Womack’s vocals are still as great as ever. After listening to this song, I had realized I had forgotten how her voice is so dynamic. She’s been there and done it and it shows in this song. “The Way I’m Livin'” will make you fall in love with Womack’s voice again.

I have absolutely no criticism for this song. I can’t even nitpick it. Every female country artist performing today needs to listen to this song and take notes. This is how you do country music in 2014. This is only one song off Womack’s new album and it has me eager to hear the rest of it. I’m anticipating one of the best country albums in 2014 in The Way I’m Livin’.

“The Way I’m Livin'” will be available to purchase on June 23 and when it’s released I highly recommend getting it. For now, you can just replay it over and over on Soundcloud. You can’t do much better than “The Way I’m Livin’.”

Grade: 10/10