My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Single Review: Lee Ann Womack – ‘All the Trouble’

Although she is best known to the masses for her massive crossover hit “I Hope You Dance”, Lee Ann Womack has built a reputation as one of only a very select few female artists that adheres to country music’s traditions. John Rich once referred to her as this generation’s Tammy Wynette. I’m not sure I quite agree with that assessment; my first reaction was that she was more like a Patty Loveless, but I’ve come to realize that a case can be made that she is this generations’ Emmylou Harris, putting artistry and tradition ahead of commercial concerns and earning universal respect from her peers. Let’s just pretend that 2002’s Something Worth Leaving Behind never happened; she has more than redeemed herself for that misstep.

Lee Ann is releasing a new independent album in October and there have been rumors that she is moving in an Americana direction. It’s a little hard to say based on the advance single “All the Trouble,” which is different from her usual fare. I’d call it country blues with a touch of gospel rather than Americana; in fact, it sounds like something that The Judds might have had success with in their heyday.

Written by Lee Ann with her bandmates Adam Wright and Waylon Payne, “All the Trouble” begins with Lee Ann singing the chorus acapella at a the lower end of her register and slowly builds in intensity. During the first, mostly acoustic verse, she sounds beaten down:

The deck is stacked against you
Life’s a losing hand
Even when you think you’re up
You’re right back down again
Either way you play it
The house is gonna win.

By the second chorus, she kicks it up a notch, sounding more like the Lee Ann of old.

I’ve got all the trouble I’m ever gonna need
And I just don’t want no more.

By this point she’s singing more intensely, desperately searching for a happy ending. It’s about a full octave higher than the beginning of the song, which is quite effective in giving the listener a full sense of her emotions. The background vocalists provide a gospel feel which gives the whole song a sense of hope. Unfortunately, at this point the production becomes a lot busier and louder than it was at the beginning and I feel that this is a case where less would have been more.

“All the Trouble” is not perfect, but it’s everything that contemporary mainstream country is not: substantive, well-written, and well sung from the female point of view. I’m looking forward to hearing the full album.

Grade: B+

10 responses to “Single Review: Lee Ann Womack – ‘All the Trouble’

  1. Ken August 23, 2017 at 8:26 am

    I could only make it through about half of this song. Couldn’t take any more of her screaming. I generally like Lee Ann but I can’t imagine who the target audience is for this song. It’s horrible

    • Razor X August 23, 2017 at 9:23 am

      I can understand that this song isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and in all honesty, it’s not my favorite thing she’s ever done, either. I do, however, feel it was a decent effort. I would have preferred more restrained production in the second half. I don’t think I’ve ever rated anything an F- before. I”d reserve that grade for something that ranks among the very worst things I’ve ever heard: things like “Body Like a Back Road” or Walker Hayes’ “You Broke Up With Me” or anything by Florida Georgia Line. In all fairness, I don’t think this Lee Ann Womack record falls into that category.

    • Luckyoldsun August 23, 2017 at 9:44 pm

      Wow. Four sentences and each one manages to be more unhinged, more nasty, and more ignorant than the last one. Quite an accomplishment.

      • Luckyoldsun August 24, 2017 at 12:16 am

        That was directed at the top comment.

        • Ken August 24, 2017 at 8:41 am

          I thought that you were referring to virtually every asinine comment made by luckyoldsun the official My Kind Of Country Troll. “Unhinged, nasty and ignorant” pretty much sums up your pathetic history on this board. I expressed an opinion. However you constantly make false assertions that you purport to be factual but have absolutely no basis in fact. Your ignorance of country music artists and history – and in many cases history in general – has been displayed comment after inane comment. As you’ve been told time and time again you are entitled to your own opinion but you are not entitled to your own facts.

          I stated my honest opinion regarding this song. You only stated nonsense in a vindictive effort to try to insult me because I have repeatedly exposed your ignorance. Once again you have contributed NOTHING to this discussion. You could not even intellectually defend a contrary opinion about the song the way that Razor X did in his response. Nice job TROLL.

  2. Paul W Dennis August 24, 2017 at 6:50 am

    I like Lee Ann Womack but I hope this is not indicative of what the rest of the album . D+ or C-

  3. Luckyoldsun August 25, 2017 at 12:43 am

    The “opinion” that you stated was more of an expression of pride in your own ignorance. “Couldn’t take any more of her screaming.” Lee Ann Womack is not screaming. She’s singing. You “can’t imagine who the target audience for this song is.” I’m sure you can’t. It’s beyond your comprehension or imagination that there’s are vast multitudes of music consumers beyond bitter septuagenarians from among which Lee Ann Womack may find an audience–that there are blues fans, younger people, et al who actually like hearing adventurous music from crack players and a skilled singer who’s stretching herself. “F-.” Sorry, can’t really respond to that sort of idiocy.

    In case you haven’t noticed, I almost NEVER comment about your comments (unless they’re specifically addressed at me–and even those I tend to respond to selectively.) This particular comment was just so frikkin’ spiteful and arrogant that I made an exception.
    Oh, but I do like how you suddenly feel wounded and mistreated after the stream of vitriol that you’ve directed at me for however long. Sorry, I have to laugh. It’s just too funny.

    • Ken August 25, 2017 at 9:27 am

      Lee Ann has always positioned herself as a country singer. Although she had some crossover success she has never announced that she has left the genre and focused on a new musical direction. Therefore the assumption is that she believes that this song fits somewhere within the broad bounds of country music.

      This blog is titled “My Mind Of Country” not “My Kind Of Music Of Various Genres.” So the discussion of music on THIS site is from a country music perspective and is evaluated by that standard. It is not a blog specifically targeted to blues fans. You’ll need to go elsewhere for that.

      Even taking into account the broad context of the extreme pop/rock direction that country music has taken I cannot understand where this song fits within the genre. If Lee Ann is directing this to a blues or some other audience that’s her choice but as a “country” recording it falls woefully short. Her wonderful emotional voice has been replaced by a screaming delivery that is more annoying than enjoyable. Maybe it’s great blues to you but it’s sure not great country. Doubtful that most of Lee Ann’s long-time fans will find this song appealing.

      Do you ever read what you have written before hitting the “post comment” button? Once again you’ve completely missed the point as evidenced by your baseless argument and rambling narrative. As usual your misplaced comments earn an “F” grade. But at least you’re consistent.

      To be clear as I stated in my initial post I generally like Lee Ann’s music. Loved her voice since her first single “Never Again, Again.” Now THAT’S a great song and a superb performance.

  4. Luckyoldsun August 27, 2017 at 2:13 am

    Since you’ve of taken on a revised personality for your latest comment and it actually qualifies as reasonably civil, I’ll refrain from escalating the vitriol. (Yeah there’s the rude next-to-last paragraph, but the rudeness seems reflexive–it’s so mild as to be practically polite. I mean, I received a higher grade from the great Kenneth than Lee Ann Womack did!)

    I’ll just add that artists make music. They’re not responsible for sending out a notification to the media or fans or anyone else as to what direction their music is moving in and what “genre” it should be classified as. That’s for other people to obsess over. Lee Ann made a good record. I could care less whether it qualifies as country or blues. Will it do well? That’s all relative. I think she knows what she’s doing. The market for the “traditional” country music Lee Ann was making in the ’90s-early 2000s has dried up. There’s no radio format that even plays it. This record should bring her to more urban, maybe more sophisticated audiences. The only bet I would make is that Lee Ann Womack will enjoy greater success with this album–in terms of sales and concert venues–than any 50-year-old women peers who are making the kind of music that YOU want her to make.

    • Ken August 27, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      Contrary to YOUR opinion there remains a vibrant market for traditional sounding country music. Although mainstream country radio has abandoned it the internet and satellite radio have provided huge platforms to expose new recordings as well as keeping heritage country recordings alive. Artists are no longer at the mercy of corporate-owned record labels and are free to independently make their music available via their own websites and digital outlets such as Amazon music or iTunes. Digital recording has made it possible to make professional recordings at a fraction of the cost from a couple of decades ago. Some veteran artists have stated that they actually make more money from the direct sale of their recordings in recent years than they did when attached to a major record label that deducted all of the costs of marketing, promotion and studio recordings from their royalties. So there is a viable business model available if an artist chooses to record and release traditional country music.

      As usual you got it wrong again. Personally I don’t care what style of music an artist chooses to make. Ultimately it’s their career to run as they desire. But the purpose of this blog is to express opinions of the music selected and posted by the staff here. If an artist delivers a great song and a superb performance they deserve accolades. Conversely if they make a misstep they deserve criticism. Lee Ann receives the latter from me. She has the talent to recover and I don’t doubt that her next effort will be much better. She obviously received some extremely poor career and musical guidance.

      Given your consistently proven lack of knowledge about the music business and your frequently stated oddball perceptions of music I don’t think the Lee Ann will get any comfort from your endorsement.

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