Lee Ann Womack slated to perform for returning warriors
November 27, 2009
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Country music singer Lee Ann Womack knows what it's like to spend a good portion of life away from family members.
As a touring professional, Womack has spent the better part of the last decade out on the road, splitting her days and nights between hotel rooms and sold-out arenas. Modern technology, via text messaging, video conferencing and Skype phone calls, has definitely made communication with her loved ones much easier whenever she's away.
Still, she's yet to find anything that quite equals the feeling of being at home with husband Frank Liddell, and daughters Aubrie Lee Sellers, 18, and Anna Lise Liddell, 10.
"Because I have to be gone so much, I certainly do appreciate the time I get to spend with my whole family," Womack explained. "My daughters are getting a little older now, so sometimes I have to make things mandatory for them and say, 'It's just going to be the four of us going to dinner tonight and we're not inviting any friends.'
"So I try to make those times happen when we can be together," she continued. "Those are the moments I cherish."
That's the type of moment she hopes to create for families of returning Soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 84th Engineering Battalion, and the 8th Military Police Brigade, all of whom will be the guests of honor at the upcoming USO-sponsored concert, "A Tropic Homecoming."
The redeployment celebration and free concert, slated Nov. 19, 4-8 p.m., at Sills Field, here, will be an opportunity for Soldiers and their loved ones to celebrate their reunion after months apart, all the while relaxing and enjoying songs from one of country music's finest performers.
"The Soldiers have been able to come home, and come home safely," noted Womack, 43. "This will be a time for me to celebrate with them and their families.
"I like doing things for the military; I've done several events before," she added. "You know, I don't think I could ever do enough to pay them back."
And while she does not have any relatives who currently serve or have served in the armed forces, the Texas-born Womack reasoned that doesn't mean she can't claim Soldiers as kin.
"I kind of consider (the military) to be part of my family," she stated, matter-of-factly.
Womack's fans have always found her ability to relate to multiple generations of family members to be quite appealing. Such songs as "Never Again, Again" and "I'll Think of a Reason Later" have an old-soul feel to them, making their straight-talking lyrics particularly gratifying to those raised on the music of George Jones, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard or Tammy Wynette.
And yet, other songs as "I May Hate Myself in the Morning" or the huge crossover smash, "I Hope You Dance," aren't dated either - a must for any artist trying to reach out to younger audiences.
As for her most satisfying moments as a professional singer, they've come while rubbing shoulders with many of the genre's greats.
"In my career, it wasn't the times when I was on TV or standing in front of a bunch of people that I cherished, but it was performing with such artists as George Strait, Dolly Parton or Vince Gill," explained Womack, who's sold more than 5 million records in the U.S. alone, and counts five Academy of Country Music Awards, five Country Music Association Awards, and two Grammy Awards among her professional credits.
"I remember once being in a vocal booth with Willie Nelson, and it was just the two of us. We were standing just a few feet apart, and there was me thinking, 'I cannot believe I'm having this moment with Willie Nelson.'"
A decade into a still-burgeoning career, Womack admitted that she still has a lot to offer country-music lovers, as well as families learning to reconnect after months apart.
"Just make sure that when you are at home with your family, that you're really at home with them," she said. "Sometimes I catch myself not really being present with my family, not really thinking about what they're saying and not really interacting with them.
"But don't let your minds wander," Womack continued. "Discipline yourselves, and you'll do a better job with your families."
For more information on the upcoming concert, visit the Web site, <a href="http://www.mwrarmyhawaii.com">www.mwrarmyhawaii.com</a> or call the Recreation Activities Office at 808-655-0112/655-0113.