Lee Ann Womack's new release shows no signs of a sophomore slump though its consistency with her debut might disappoint those hoping for a larger leap forward. The vulnerability of her singing continues to give voice to frail, delicate emotions, while her folksy trills provide a respite from today's oversung pop stylings. Her vocals are warm and homespun, even when the production tends to countrypolitan.
Womack digs into melancholy with the lead single "A Little Past Little Rock" and the irony-laden duet "I Keep Forgetting." The mood intensifies with the guilty admission of "I'd Rather Have What We Had" and the longing of "If You're Ever Down in Dallas." Her cover of Buddy and Julie Miller's "Don't Tell Me" smooths away some of the edge that made the original so palpably futile, but anyone who'd even pick this song has their heart and ears in the right place.
While this may be a lot more "country' than most of what's charting, it still gets tangled up in Nashville convention. Womack's singing and her catalog of tear-jerkers make a powerful combination - one that that finds many successes. Here's hoping she parlays that into something even more substantial.