Feature Of The Month

Lee Ann Womack

Our Womack Of Country Music

Texas native Lee Ann Womack grew up between the speakers of her stereo, listening to the Grand Ole Opry and picking songs for her father Aubrey Lee Womack, a part-time DJ, to play on the air. As a result, Womack's own music has a strong traditional bent. She completed her first album before she graduated from college at Nashville's Belmont University.

Lee Ann Womack

With songs as intimate and plain-spoken as diary entries, Lee Ann Womack reminds us of the things that made country music so enchanting in the first place. Her peculiar magic is being thoroughly traditional without sounding the least bit dated. In her self-titled debut album, the Texas native weds the primal emotional power of a Connie Smith or Reba McEntire, to the sensibilities and dilemmas of modern women. But as the collection amply demonstrates, she's not all tears and torment. She can be lyrically light-hearted as well.

No Olympian ever trained harder for the gold than Womack has. From her earliest years in the small town of Jacksonville, Texas, she immersed herself in country music. Her father was a part-time disc jockey who frequently took her to the studio and let her pick out records for him to play. (Bob Wills, Ray Price and Glen Campbell were her favorites.) At home, young Lee Ann would lie between the stereo speakers and--when the weather conditions were right--absorb the music beaming in from the Grand Ole Opry. Instead of taking her senior trip with the rest of her class, she bargained with her parents for a visit to Nashville, where she toured Music Row and watched TNN tapings.

Initially, Womack studied music at South Plains Junior College, in Levelland, Texas, one of the first schools to offer a degree in bluegrass and country music. She quickly became a member of the school band, Country Caravan, and toured with it throughout the Southwest and Southern California. Subsequently, she enrolled in Belmont University's Music Business program in Nashville, which enabled her to intern in the A&R department at MCA Records. In 1990, she moved to Nashville permanently.

During her stay at Belmont, Womack got married, became a mother and stayed home for a couple of years. Then she began doing showcases around town and singing demos for other songwriters. She also began to concentrate more on her own songwriting. "At one showcase," she says, "somebody from Tree [Publishing] came out to hear me. He asked for a tape of my songs that I'd demoed. Then, he gave the demo to [producer and songwriter] Don Cook, who actually signed me to Tree."

As a staff writer for Tree since 1995, Womack has co-written with such heavy-weights as Bill Anderson, Sam Hogin, Ed Hill and her producer, Mark Wright. Anderson has recorded one of their joint-compositions for his new Warner Brothers album, and Ricky Skaggs is including a Womack cut on his upcoming Atlantic Records project. Best of all, one of Womack's songs earned a spot on her own debut album.

In early 1996, Womack signed as an artist with Decca Records, the legendary label of Ernest Tubb, Patsy Cline, Webb Pierce, Loretta Lynn and many other of her musical heroes.

With the signing came her first big career problem: What to do about her name? At just about the time Womack joined Decca, LeAnn Rimes was making her media breakthrough. Naturally there was the question of whether two country singers with identical sounding first names might needlessly confuse fans. Womack was philosophical about the whole matter. "I was not opposed to changing my name," she says. "I suggested we go with Lu, since that had always been my nickname. But [the label] didn't want Lu because they thought it sounded too masculine. So we stayed with Lee Ann. The one who actually decided that I should keep my name was my manager, Erv Woolsey. He said that when he started managing George Strait there had been some pressure for George to take a different name--on account of George Jones. Erv said, 'George Strait kept his name, and it worked. You should too.' "

For her first album, Decca has paired Womack with producer Mark Wright, the man who helped guide Clint Black and Mark Chesnutt to platinum-level success. He encouraged the singer to participate fully in gathering material for the project. "I did a lot of searching for songs for this album," she explains. "Since I'm a writer myself, I had a lot of friends in the songwriting community I could turn to. In fact, I brought most of the songs in. But Mark Wright and Frank Liddell, Decca's Director of A&R, did extensive searching as well." The songs the three selected for Lee Ann Womack are among the best Nashville has to offer--from such classical hurting tunes as "Never Again, Again," "The Fool" and "Am I The Only Thing That You've Done Wrong," to the easy-going and familiar "A Man With 18 Wheels" and "Buckaroo."

You can tell a lot about a new artist by the quality of established artists she attracts. In Womack's case, it's stars like Mark Chesnutt, who duets with her on "Make Memories With Me"; Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White, who provide vocal harmonies on "Never Again, Again" (her first single) and "Get Up In Jesus' Name"; and famed producer Tony Brown, who plays piano on "You've Got To Talk To Me."

Once you hear Lee Ann Womack, you'll never be confused again about who she is or what she is. She's pure country.

Lee Ann Womack She's No Fool! Interview by: Melissa Loncaric

What does it take to be a success in Nashville? Just ask Lee Ann Womack. It took a ground breaking song, a smash follow-up single, and a voice pure and true to country music to get Lee Ann her first CMA nomination.

"I just couldn't believe it; to be in the company of those guys is great! It's something I've looked forward to all my life, so there was satisfaction there and a lot of excitement." Lee Ann says of her Horizon Award nomination.

Since setting the country music scene on fire with her debut single, Never Again, Again, Lee Ann has began touring the United States learning the ropes of being on stage.

"My first big show was with Tim McGraw and Mark Chesnutt, and that was overwhelming. There was probably 25,000 people there. I was nervous, (but it) was exhilerating."

While the crowds are huge now, the road to success was long and hard. Lee Ann began her stage career at age 5 in a dance recital. She sang in the church choir, then with some bands around east Texas. There came an internship at MCA Records, a songwriting deal, a marriage, a daughter, and a divorce before her life-changing deal with Decca Records.

Lee Ann remembers that moment, "I sat down and thought, 'Ok, this is a big step and a major accomplishment.' The feeling that I had at that time, was that I was up to bat. I was looking for the next hill to climb.

Performances and accomplishments aside, Lee Ann makes you forget that you're talking to a country music star. She's as humble as they come. A strong sense of down-home seems to come rushing at you as she speaks. She openly discusses her life, career, and family and her six year old daughter, Aubrey.

Aubrey has gotten to see what life on the road is like as well. "She love it, she loves the guys. Actually, when I was picking my band members, I really (gave a lot of thought to) how they would be around a 6 year-old girl on the bus. A lot of them have children; it's kind of like a family atmosphere. She fits in real well."

There's no question that family is important to Lee Ann, "My family has been there with me from the very beginning. I think whether it's the music business or any other business that I might be in, they're just happy to see me work hard and achieve the goals I've set for myself."

Nowadays, it seems as though Lee Ann is attaining goals just as fast as she sets them. This singer/songwriter/mother has her hands full. In addition to a solid tour schedule, she is raising (and homeschooling) her daughter. Lee Ann is working on her live show, and is already on the lookout for new material for a second album. "I'll probably take off a couple weeks in the fall and winter and do nothing but try to write." she says.

No matter what her plans may be, it goes without saying that Lee Ann Womack is destined to become one of the greats in country music. Lee Ann's combination of talent, determination, and sincerity assure her a lasting place in the hearts of country music fans everywhere.


January 18, 1999

Lee Ann Womack Places a Surprise Call to Karl Malone

NASHVILLE - Most people probably don't know that Karl Malone (The Mailman) of the Utah Jazz NBA basketball team is a huge Lee Ann Womack fan or that he guest co-hosted a radio sports talk show during his recent down time. Karl joined Vic the Brick for a few shows that were simulcast in Salt Lake City - KALL 910 am and Los Angeles XTRA Sports 1150am.

Recently Lee Ann surprised Karl with a call-in to his show. He was genuinely shocked and excited that she called. He told her "'A Little Past Little Rock' is my favorite song. I play it once a day to keep everything in perspective. I love it!". He gushed on and on and Lee Ann could hardly get a word in. Before they finished the call he played her #1 hit "A Little Past Little Rock" for his sports talk listeners. (The call was arranged with the help of KKAT - Kat Country which is the sister station to KALL)

Descendants of Thomas Womack

Gen.1..... Thomas Womack was born Abt. 1745 in Halifax Co., VA, and died Abt. 1790 in Burke Co., NC. He married Louvisa Rice Abt. 1763 in Halifax Co., VA, daughter of John Rice and Mary Finney. She was born Abt. 1745 in Halifax Co., VA, and died Abt. 1790 in Rutherford Co., NC.

There has been much confusion as to the parentage of Thomas Womack. He has been assigned many different parents over the years and no proof has been given to date to prove them one way or the other. Like many others researchers I feel very confident he is a descendant of our Womack ancestors, because of his association and relationship with the Womack's, in all the areas in which he lived. It is very hard to conceive that a man named Womack would Immigrate to this country over 100 years after the first Womack, move into their communities and have such close relationships with them as many a story has been told.

Gen.2..... Anderson Womack was born October 19, 1765 in Halifax Co., VA., and died September 30, 1848 in Rutherford Co., NC. He married Frances Dobbins Abt. 1792 in Rutherford Co., NC, daughter of William Dobbins and Susannah Collins. She was born 1772 in York Co., SC, and died 1863 in Rutherford Co., NC.

Gen.3..... Drury Dobbins Womack was born Abt. 1808 in Rutherford Co., NC, and died 1879 in Leon Co., TX. He married Louisa. She died in TX.

Gen.4..... Joseph B. Womack was born July 1840 in GA. He married Maggie. She was born May 1845 in AL, and died 1880.

Gen.5..... John Drury Womack was born Abt. 1874. He married Cora Lee Williams Abt. 1896. She was born Abt. 1880.

Gen.6..... Algie Bertram Womack , was born January 21, 1899 in Texas, and died February 02, 1981 in Jacksonville, TX. He married Clara Virginia Carnes Abt. 1925 in Troup, Texas. She was born Abt. 1905.

Gen.7..... Aubrey Lee Womack , was born in Jacksonville, TX. He married Ann Gothard in Jacksonville, TX. She was born in Henderson, TX.

Aubrey attended Jacksonville High school, then went to Stephen F. Austin College in Nacogdoches, Tx. and graduated with a degree in Government in 1970...a masters in educational administration in 1972...worked as a disc jockey, served as a teacher, assistant principal and principal thru 1994 when he retired. Aubrey and Ann had two daughters...Judy, a licensed attorney, but spends most of her time home schooling her three children and we know about the other, Lee Ann Womack, our Womack of country.

Gen.8..... Lee Ann Womack was born in Jacksonville, TX.

Copyright 1999 Janet Lynne Womack.-Parker and Roger Womack. This document may be duplicated or printed for use in personal research as long as this copyright notice is included. It may not be reproduced in any other media form and/or for commercial use without the express written consent of the authors. All rights reserved.

The information included in this article is provided 'as-is'. While every effort has been made to reasonably authenticate the information, no guarantee or warranty is given or implied. Interested researchers are encouraged to perform their own research to prove the authenticity to their own satisafaction.
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