Monday, September 11th, 2017

Lee Ann Womack – All the Trouble

We don’t mind trouble…


Alex Clifton: I can’t remember the last time I heard a jam like this from a mainstream country singer. I mean a jam: the last minute or so is energetic and groovy. I had to look up who Womack is signed to these days; she’s with Sugar Hill Records. They’ve signed many of the bluegrass/country acts I love (Nickel Creek, Sam Bush, Sarah Jarosz, and Dolly herself) and pride themselves on rawer roots music, so the sonic palette here makes sense. Womack’s voice comes in like a shot in the dark to start off the track, and doesn’t relent from there. It’s a story we’ve always heard in country music, one of being an outsider down on their luck, but Womack’s vocal performance, the session musicians, and the lyrics elevate this song from standard fare. These aren’t rote complaints; this is a plea for a “happy ending” that may never come. It’s simultaneously a 2017 sentiment while also hearkening back to country standards. But that melody has some fight to it unlike most pop I’ve heard this year, making this song worth all the trouble.

Alfred Soto: On a hell of an artistic roll without the commensurate sales, Lee Ann Womack delves deeper into trad country: the snap of acoustic guitar strings and a weary theatrical approach to material; she’s weary and playing sad, and it becomes her whiskered tones.

David Sheffieck: Womack’s mid-career turn toward “authentic” country gets darker — or heavier, at any rate — and she continues to make the shift like she’s hardly heard of pop-country. Her vocal here is a bit of a light touch on the first verse, dancing where it should trudge, but the anguish she brings to the first chorus shifts the song into a unmistakable, if still propulsive, lament. From then on, she’s in full control of the story, which is to say: she’s in her element, same as she ever was.

Josh Langhoff: A simple, blues-derived showcase for Womack’s skillfully executed melismas. The hard-working backbeat drives her through rainstorms and up Sisyphean mountains; rumbling guitar reverb and a scary-dude backup voice represent efforts at verisimilitude. Might not trouble anyone, but it all sounds great. Womack’s narrator has suffered so that we might enjoy her band crashing around at the end.

Jonathan Bradley: Womack has trouble, and it burns with the glow of fall foliage, fading accordingly to a browned husk.

Ashley John: “All the Trouble” is a marathon, just like the story Lee Ann Womack tells. Beginning humbly, extra production frills and instruments stumble in just past the halfway point and clutter unnecessarily. Nevertheless, Womack’s voice is strong and prodding, and the song is a decisive move toward classic blues sensibilities, which is imperfect but at least it is interesting. Hopefully that makes this track a stepping stone along the way to something more sturdy. 

Rebecca A. Gowns: I’m immediately struck by the resonance, the low background hum that ushers you into the space of caves and church. Reverb has rarely been utilized so well. The song unfolds beautifully from there: Lee Ann’s voice strong and assured, the arrangement delicate but powerful. She delivers an old school blues/country formula with a crystal clear clarity, like heirloom silver that’s been polished til it shines. Just a damn solid good tune.

Reader average: [8] (2 votes)

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