Lee Ann Womack
One of the more interesting questions right now in country music is: What will become of one of its very best singers, Lee Ann Womack? Several of her early singles (“A Little Past Little Rock,” for instance) were big radio hits. But her strong traditionalist bent (her favorite singer is Conway Twitty, and she has a clear affinity for bluegrass) kept her constantly in danger of disappearing as country radio grew increasingly pop. “I Hope You Dance,” a career record that neatly updated many of country music’s enduring sounds and themes, seemed to have changed all that, as did her next single, a scorching, groove-driven cover of Rodney Crowell’s “Ashes by Now.” Her slightly twangier follow-up singles didn’t do nearly as well, though, and her next album, Something Worth Leaving Behind, was a big-time diva move that stunk up the joint, artistically and commercially. Now, though, country sounds more and more poised for traditionalist resurgence with each passing week. Maybe Womack will hop right on that bandwagon and dance again with the one that brung her.