Over the course of her career, Lee Ann Womack has been praised for her traditional country vocal and songs. While she’s been pretty successful with traditional minded country songs, Lee Ann has also recorded some more contemporary sounding tracks, one of which, “I Hope You Dance” has been her most successful single to date. While she didn’t have a smash hit like that one on “There’s More Where That came From,” the traditionalists praised the album for its old-school sound. Trying to strike that balance between critical and commercial success, Lee Ann scrapped a whole album of songs and partnered with Tony Brown to record and release “Call Me Crazy.”
Lead single “Last Call,” opens the record and it serves as a wonderful bridge from the uber traditionalism of the previous album and the more contemporary vibe that is prevalent throughout “Call Me Crazy.” Written by one time Curb artist Shane McAnally and Erin Enderline (Co-writer of Alan Jackson’s “Monday Morning Church”), “Last Call” tells an emotional story of a woman who was hurt deeply by a relationship and despite it being over and the number long removed from her phone, her memory is burned with that number’s image and of the man calling it. “Solitary Thinkin’,” Written by Waylon Payne, has a slinky, old school r&b vibe to it that just feels cool. Despite the R&B grooves, Lee Ann’s voice still grounds the song in country music (as do the lyrics).
While a majority of songs from “Call Me Crazy” are from outside songwriters, Lee Ann co-wrote four of the album’s tracks. “New Again” is one of the tracks and it the melody has a sweet sound to it as Lee Ann sings a lyric that toasts to those people who are able to give old things a new life, whether it’s a bicycle, a piece of clothing or an old heart. The beautiful harmony vocals on the track are provided by Lee Ann’s ex-husband, Jason Sellers. Going introspective, Lee Ann asks where the “innocent but confident bright eyed, ready to take on the world girl is inside of her.” It’s a song that is sad and depressing, like many a classic country song, but at its center is a hopeful optimism that the ‘lost girl’ can be recovered. George Strait stopped by to provide a duet vocal on “Everything But Quits,” a classic Countrypolitan sounding track about a couple who can do everything but end their relationship. “If These Walls Could Talk” is the other track co-written by Lee Ann (all were co-written with Dale Dodson, two also co-written with Dean Dillon and one was co-written with Casey Beathard).
Warner Brothers artist Whitney Duncan co-wrote “I Found It In You” (with Brian Nash and Michael T. Post) and it’s an interesting song about finding one’s happiness and purpose in life. While grounded in tradition more than “I hope You Dance,” I get the same feeling about this song and feel as if it will be a huge hit single. “The King Of Broken Hearts” is a classic Jim Lauderdale song that first became known because of George Strait and his film “Pure Country.” And as one would guess from the Strait version, Lee Ann has kept the song grounded in the traditional country sounds that were the basis of her previous album. “The Bees” is an interesting song in that it features a strong kick drum beat as Lee Ann sings an interesting and abstract lyric about life and love and everything that goes in between it. Keith Urban sings harmonies on this superb track that was written by Natalie Hemby and Daniel Tashian.
The record closes with a song that, while sounding very personal, it wasn’t wrote by Lee Ann. Hillary Lindsey, Brett James and Angelo wrote a song that showcases the stellar family harmonies of Lee Ann, Jason Sellers and their daughter Aubrey. Given the immense talent of Lee Ann and her songwriting, soulful sounding father Jason, Aubrey Sellers is a youngster worth keeping an eye out for. At the end of the day, “Call Me Crazy” is an album that should please fans of both the traditional and contemporary sides of Lee Ann Womack. It’s a well-written, sung, played and recorded album that only helps to prove why Lee Ann Womack is one of modern country music’s most treasured artists.