Lee Ann Womack: Live last night

lee ann womack

Live Last Night

By Juli Thanki

"Do you guys like country music? How 'bout real country music?" Lee Ann Womack shouted to the crowd Saturday at the American Freedom Festival at George Mason University's Patriot Center. She charmed the audience of veterans and families with her wry humor and flawless soprano, sandwiched between Phil Vassar's piano pop and the swaggering Southern rock of Montgomery Gentry.

(No earpiece, no problem, after the jump.)

Despite suffering earpiece troubles (she eventually flung them aside mid-song) and being forced to share the stage with a performance artist who paints to music, Womack was in fine form during a too-short 45-minute set whose material ranged from the Western swing of Bob Wills's "New San Antonio Rose" to a stirring version of old-time gospel tune "Wayfaring Stranger."

Womack, daughter of an East Texas disc jockey, also performed several of her own songs, including late-'90s pop-flavored single "You've Got to Talk to Me" and 2008's feel-bad drinking song "Solitary Thinkin'." Backed by the traditional sounds of fiddle and pedal steel, Womack could easily have been performing in a smoky dive bar instead of the Patriot Center.

She knew what song the audience most wanted to hear, teasing, "Is there a song I haven't played yet? Oh yeah, that one." The band immediately went into her crossover smash and biggest hit to date: "I Hope You Dance." The syrupy ballad felt a little out of place coming between weeper "A Little Past Little Rock" and sassy closer "Ashes by Now," but its uplifting message certainly fit the occasion.

By David Malitz |  November 9, 2009; 10:20 AM ET Live Last Night
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