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Lee Ann Womack

The Season of Romance – 2002 (MCA)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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CDs by Lee Ann Womack

Not many would think of Lee Ann Womack as a jazz chanteuse, but that's exactly what she tries to become on "The Season for Romance," a mixture of Christmas standards and new songs. And she actually does a pretty good job of it.

The best song is the fairytale love-story title track, in which two strangers come together at a Christmas party as "the music plays a moonlight Christmas serenade." Other standouts are two songs written by Frank Loesser, composer of "Guys & Dolls" and four other Broadway musicals. "Baby It's Cold Outside" is a cleverly written duet where Womack sings lines like, "Father will be pacing the floor," and Harry Connick, Jr., responds with, "Listen to that fireplace roar." "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve" smolders as Womack sings the hopeful lyric with flourishes of clarinet backing her. Some of the other standards here like "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "Silent Night" are pleasant, but unexceptional.

Womack has taken a risk here, and even though her voice isn't quite rich enough to pull off the torch singer routine, she's made a remarkably good attempt.