Music review: Lee Ann Womack, Saint Luke's, Glasgow

WITH her cascading mane and elegant floor-length gown, Lee Ann Womack looks every inch the country queen. She's an authentic throwback to the likes of Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn, a charismatic, strong-voiced woman who's deeply attuned to the core tenets of country music: religion, family, love, heartbreak and drinking.

Lee Ann Womack
Lee Ann Womack

Lee Ann Womack, Saint Luke’s, Glasgow ****

Throughout her long career – she released her first album in 1997 – Womack has flirted with country-pop crossover success, but for the most part she’s focused on roots music.

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This intimate concert showcased her affinity for traditional country and blues. Performing on a small stage dominated by a magnificent pipe organ – Saint Luke’s is a converted church – and flanked by two seated musicians accompanying her on acoustic guitar and mandolin, the Texan singer-songwriter kept her audience spellbound with a set that included impressive covers of the literally haunting country classic Long Black Veil and her idol George Jones’ You’re Still On My Mind.

Original compositions included the foot-stomping, liquor-quaffing The Way I’m Livin’, which she dryly introduced as “a song my mama hates”. No wonder. The chorus runs thus: “Oh mama, the way that I’m livin’, lyin’ and sinnin’… if I ever get to Heaven it’s a doggone shame.”

Womack doesn’t look like someone who’s lived a debauched life, but her commitment to the lyric was thoroughly convincing. 
Country music is largely defined by storytelling, and Womack is blessed with the natural gift of making her stories sound true. She’s the real deal. -PAUL WHITELAW