Lee Ann Womack wanted to do something special for Record Store Day, something that would strip the music down to its essence. Talking with husband/producer Frank Liddell, they decided to use one voice/one instrument. They called on Mark Knopfler/Steve Earle vet Richard Bennett, who brought several of his vintage guitars. The pair recorded several songs in an afternoon – and picked the best three for Trouble In Mind, a limited edition 12” vinyl.
“I think independent record stores are so important,” Womack says. “It’s the last temple of music you can take home... A place where people come looking for the rare, for the special or even just the record they have to buy one more time. But I love the idea of people selling records, talking about what’s on them, getting turned on to cool music."
“I wanted to be part of Record Store Day last year, but we couldn’t get it together in time. So this year, we started early. I got to have Richard Bennett, who is one of those musicians who can get so much heart and tone out of his guitars, come to the house. It was just the two of us, and it was awesome!”
The three songs are the blues classic “Trouble in Mind,” Roger Miller’s semi-obscure “Where Have All The Average People Gone?” and Ralph Stanley’s bluegrass gospel “I’ve Just Seen The Rock of Ages.” Engineered by Grammy-nominated Chuck Ainlay and mastered by Paul Hamann at Suma Recording Studio, Trouble In Mind is Lee Ann Womack unadorned.
“I love the idea of mixing things up, but stripping them back,” says the woman whose first album in seven years, The Way I’m Livin’, was nominated for Best Country Album at the 2015 Grammy Awards. “When you make things that basic, you can hear all the commonalities between, say, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Ralph Stanley... When you make those connections, I think that’s when it gets interesting.”
Womack has spent the last year exploring new territory. Co-hosting the International Bluegrass Music Awards with Jerry Douglas, taking part in PBS’ “Rock My Soul” fundraising special with the Fairfield Four and the McCrary Sisters, Amos Lee, Buddy Miller and Lucinda Williams, taping a CMT “Crossroads” with John Legend, and recording with Ralph Stanley, the 6-time Country Music Association Award winner followed her heart and her muse.
Writing in the essay for the Nashville Scene’s Country Critics Poll, Geoff Himes said Livin’s “...a terrific album rooted in traditional country’s willingness to confront the realities of addiction, adultery, bad romantic choices and small-town blues.” With Trouble In Mind, the vocalist continues to explore the tortured, the saved and the in-between.