For the Grammy-winner who's one of the few women to win the prestigious Country Music Association's Album of the Year, she wanted an album made purely for the sake of the songs and the spark of the musical performances.
That album - the eagerly anticipated The Way I'm Livin' - arrives Sept. 23 on Sugar Hill Records. Produced by husband Frank Liddell (Miranda Lambert, David Nail), it features the songs of Chris Knight, Mindy Smith, Buddy Miller, Mando Saenz, Hayes Carll, Neil Young, Bruce Robeson and one cover lifted from Roger Miller.
"I wanted songs that talked about how life really is, the raw spots, the tough places, the meltdowns and messy parts," laughs the always sunny Texan. "Hard, sad, rough... all the stuff people pretend doesn't exist! Because once you embrace that, you can figure out what to do; or not do!"
"The Way I'm Livin'," written by Grammy Country Song of the Year nominee Adam Wright ("So You Don't Have To Love Me Any More"), is a scalding psychic meltdown of a lost soul, banging on the rocks and not sure they want any better. With a sweltering guitar and foreboding beat that turns dervish, Womack delivers her most blistering vocal since Buddy Miller's "Does My Ring Burn Your Finger."
"It feels so good to be getting new music out to the fans," says the woman who's collaborated with Miller, Rodney Crowell, George Strait, Willie Nelson and Alan Jackson over the past several years. "I live to sing great songs that tear holes in life - just show living for what it is. I was fired up going into the studio, and Matt (Chamberlin), Duke (Levine), Glen (Worf, Jr), Mac (McAnally), Paul (Franklin) and all the amazing players who came by took me to an even higher place inside these songs.
"And knowing these songs were written to be performed, not pitched, sets a bar! Every songwriter wrote intending to sing'em, to tell these stories, show these postcards, and you can feel the way they built the characters! Bringing that to music was just so incredible for everyone on the sessions."