I Hope You Dance

I Hope You Dance

I Hope You Dance

Album contains music video nomination “Ashes by Now”.Lee Ann Womack may well have the most hard-country female voice in Nashville; while her first two albums showed much promise, they didn’t boost her past the middle of the pack. So what’s the Nashville solution? Instead of playing to her strengths, make her soprano sound smaller and more compact (think Dolly, not Tammy), de-twang it so she sounds more creamy and dreamy. In other words, try to make her sound more like everyone else. Most of these songs are slow or midtempo, building ever so predictably, and with arrangements paying little more than lip service to roots. Womack sounds better with less accompaniment (“I Know Why the River Runs,” “Thinkin’ with My Heart Again”) and best when her drawl prevails (“Does My Ring Burn Your Finger”). And she sounds unbeatable when she’s totally involved, as on the best song, “I Feel Like I’m Forgetting Something.” And who cowrote that? Why, Lee Ann did. It’s the only such song here, but somebody should take a hint. –John Morthland

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