'Crazy' for feeling so lonely
Lee Ann Womack
Call Me Crazy (MCA Nashville)
ESSENTIAL "New Again"
Lee Ann Womack is a woman of her word. The country star called her superb 2005 album "There's More Where That Came From" and makes good on that promise with "Call Me Crazy." While "More" was a deliberate throwback to the vintage sounds of '60s and '70s Nashville, Womack retains some of that homespun charm on this quietly contemplative new album out today.
Midlife themes permeate the album in ways both joyful and pensive. All-over-but-the-shouting ballad "Either Way" traces the almost invisible descent of long-term love from giddy to numb with a gentle banjo-pedal steel pas de deux. Analogies about restoring hand-me-downs and damaged goods make clever conceits on the sweetly optimistic "New Again."
"Have You Seen That Girl" tries to relocate the audacious teen who approached life fearlessly. And George Strait sidles up to duet on "Everything But Quits," a tale of volatile but enduring love that sounds like it was plucked directly from a George Jones-Tammy Wynette argument.
In addition to the timeless-sounding tracks, "Crazy" includes a few olive branches to contemporary country radio. The love-affirming "I Found it in You" has a bright snap to its beat, and "Last Call" is a drinking song of the highest order. The best thing about those tunes is that even though they seem like bids for hits, they don't sound remotely like compromises. We'll take that kind of "Crazy" any day. [Sarah Rodman]