1997: Lee Ann Womack Sings Keith Whitley’s “There’s A New Kid In Town”
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With a career spanning several decades, Lee Ann Womack has left a lasting mark on the country music scene.
Known for her traditional country sound and authenticity, Lee Ann Womack has garnered numerous awards, including a Grammy for her iconic single “I Hope You Dance,” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Country Chart and the Top 15 of the Billboard Hot 100.
Womack’s ability to convey heartfelt emotions through her music has solidified her status as one of country music’s enduring talents.
When she emerged as a contemporary country artist in 1997, her material drew critical comparisons to Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette. Her 2000 album I Hope You Dance had an entirely different sound, using pop music elements instead of traditional country. It was not until the release of There’s More Where That Came From in 2005 that Womack returned to recording traditional country music. After a hiatus in 2008, Womack returned in 2014 with a new album, The Way I’m Livin’, and a brand new sound that blended country and Americana.
Womack’s latest project The Lonely, the Lonesome & the Gone is Womack’s ninth studio album. It was released on October 27, 2017, by ATO Records.
The album was nominated for Best Americana Album and Best American Roots Song for “All the Trouble” at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards.
Womack on the album: “I wanted to get out of Nashville and tap the deep music and vibe of East Texas. I wanted to make sure this record had a lot of soul in it because real country music has soul. I wanted to remind people of that.”
Even though she has transitioned away from Music Row, Womack reflects on her journey with a sense of pride, grace, and gratitude.
In an interview with ‘The Premiere Magazine Of The West,’ Cowboys & Indians, Womack opened up about exchanging pop-country superstardom for the authenticity of Americana and the change in the Nashville music industry.
Cowboys & Indians: You mentioned that by the time you got to Nashville “they had stopped making country music.” What is country music to you?
Womack: It’s the kind of country music that I grew up with. They were songs about real life instead of songs that sound like they’re being made up. I like steel guitars and fiddles. Nashville country music used to be its own thing. Now it has become a watered-down version of something else. Country music is still country music but Music Row is not that anymore.
C&I: You had a very successful career in the Music Row system and now you’ve taken a different path. Did Music Row leave you or did you leave Music Row?
Womack: I think Music Row left me a long time ago. It left the music I love a long time ago. Which is actually fine. It makes what I do more unique. The change in the industry is not a complaint, it’s just an observation.
While Womack has now strayed from the traditional roots of country music, she was once renowned for her contribution to the classic country genre.
The Nashville Network, usually referred to as TNN, shared a 1997 video of Womack covering Keith Whitley’s “There’s A New Kid In Town.” The Nashville Network was an American country music-oriented cable television network that became Paramount Network in 2018.
Fans enjoyed Womack’s rendition of the song, leaving praising comments on the video:
One of the greatest female vocalists I have ever heard. Great song too.
Classic all the way. Talent and pure Country and I absolutely love this song.
Keith Whitley’s “There’s A New Kid In Town”
“There’s A New Kid In Town” is a Christmas song written by Don Cook, Curly Putnam, and Keith Whitley himself. The track was first released on vinyl with “A Christmas Letter” on the reverse side. It was first recorded and released by Whitley in 1985.
A few other country artists who have covered the popular tune include Chris Young, Blake Shelton, and Randy Travis and Drew Parker.
While Whitley was the first one to record the song, it was later recorded as a duet with Alan Jackson. Their duet version appeared on Jackson’s Honky Tonk Christmas, four years after Whitley’s tragic death. Jackson and Whitley’s collaboration has now achieved the status of a Christmas classic. Listen to it here!
Watch Lee Ann Womack sing Keith Whitley’s “There’s A New Kid In Town” below!