Single Review: Lee Ann Womack – ‘Send It On Down’
March 12, 2015
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Small town suffocation songs succeed when the trapped protagonist accurately conveys why they feel confined while precisely expressing how their internment is affecting them. Unfortunately, the majority of these songs center on young adults off to make crazy dreams come true. They’re not suffocating as much as growing up.
That’s why it’s so deliciously satisfying to hear Lee Ann Womack sing of a despondent alcoholic looking to Jesus for a final attempt at salvation. When Womack ends the chorus with ‘while I’m still able to be found’ you can hear the faint glimmer of hope in her voice, the tiny glimpse of positivity in an otherwise grim situation.
Womack has always shined brightest when narrating the most miserable of stories either of women on the brink of self-destruction or of marriages that have nearly imploded. Through it all she’s been guided by her keen self-awareness, a key factor in her ability to correctly communicate stories portraying intuitive women free of denial. Her characters always know exactly how they feel, even if they lack the solution to better their situation.
What sets “Send It On Down” apart is the way it subtlety illustrates the woman’s distress lyrically, while powerfully employing emotional resonance sonically. Chris Knight and David Leone’s story gives just enough details to keep the anecdote interesting, while Chuck Ainlay, Frank Liddell and Glenn Worf pair the tale with beautifully mournful piano and light ribbons of haunting pedal steel. That Womack tops it off with a brilliantly understand vocal is almost beside the point.
In her legendary career, Womack has already gifted us some of country music’s finest moments of the past eighteen years. She’s a shoo-in for the Country Music Hall of Fame, even if she never sang publicly again. I still prefer the cleaner sound of her eponymous debut, but there’s no denying this is just a killer record.