Lee Ann Womack possesses one of the most distinctive female voices in country music. Born in Texas, she absorbed some classic country influences through her father, who was a disc jockey. She studied piano as a child and became involved in a country band in college, and finished her education in Nashville by studying business at Belmont. A songwriting deal led to a record deal for Womack, who released her self-titled debut album in 1997. She scored a hit with “The Fool,” and won Top New Female Vocalist in the ACM Awards and Billboard’s Top Artist of the Year, as well as a Horizon Award nomination from the CMA. She scored a bigger commercial success with her sophomore album in 1998, hitting No. 2 with “A Little Past Little Rock” and “I’ll Think of a Reason Later.” She reached the peak of her career in 2000 with her third album, ‘I Hope You Dance,’ when the title song reached No. 1 and crossed over to become a pop hit, earning Womack Song and Single of the Year in the CMA Awards. It also won ACM and Grammy awards, but Womack’s next album, 2002’s ‘Something Worth Leaving Behind,’ ushered in a period of career decline that lasted until the release of ‘There’s More Where That Came From’ in 2005, which won a CMA for Album of the Year. Critics hailed it as a return to form, but Womack took a hiatus afterward, not returning to the commercial marketplace until 2008’s ‘Call Me Crazy.’ She was absent from recording until 2014, when she released ‘The Way I’m Livin’,’ which critics hailed as Womack’s return to her traditional roots. The album was nominated for multiple Grammy and Americana Music Awards.