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Picking songs for the new project was an interesting process for the singer. "I didn't write anything on it," Lee Ann tells The Boot. "It's funny, I was feeling weird about that and my husband (producer Frank Liddell) said, 'If outside songs are good enough for Willie Nelson, they should be good enough for you!' I had to agree with that."
"When we sat down to meet with her before we began recording," Frank recalls, "she was sitting there ... and my wife's not the tallest person in the world. She was swinging her feet and she said, 'I've never made a record where it was all about me'! As you grow as an artist, you want to do different things. Lee Ann wanted something wide open ... so we immediately tracked the record with a handful of sides, just six people, and the rest of it with four people. So it's a very sparse record and hopefully her voice is wide open and right in the middle of it. That's our focus. We didn't get too worried about songs or what she needed to say. We just took a bunch of great songs we'd amassed over the years and went into the studio. We've always gotten along real well song-wise."
Lee Ann walked the red carpet Wednesday night (April 25) at the Nashville Film Festival for the world premiere of "Hank Cochran: Livin' for a Song." When asked if there was one of the late songwriter's tunes on her new CD, Lee Ann had to stop and think a moment, since she's recorded his tunes in the past and also shared a friendship with him until his death in 2010. "No not this time. I met Hank through our mutual friend Dale Dodson. The three of us would write or go to eat or I'd go out to Hank's house to hang out and talk about music and just listen to Hank's stories."
The Texas native recorded "He'll Be Back," co-written by Dale, Hank and Red Lane, on her Something Worth Leaving Behind album in 2002.
While the new album doesn't have a release date yet, it does have a title: The Way That I'm Living. "That probably tells you right there it's a classic record dealing with the themes I always sing about, which is real life," she notes.
Lee Ann has not had a new album since 2008, although she has had a few new songs on various soundtracks and other projects, including "Liars Lie" from "Country Strong" and guest vocals on Alan Jackson's recording of "Ring of Fire," which he released on a greatest hits collection in 2010.