Lee Ann Womack (search) admits she was a bit nervous when she released her latest record, "There's More Where That Came From (search)," after a three-year absence. But her fears that fans were over her proved unfounded.
Her latest album, with its stripped-down sound and retro feel, has garnered her plenty of commercial success and critical acclaim. Now she's on tour this summer with Toby Keith (search).
AP: What are your little tricks to get ready for your show?
Womack: I usually try to sit down for just a minute and think about, how am I gonna give them what they need and at the same time do what makes me happy? So I just sit down and try to think about it every time before I go out.
AP: How do you balance fan favorites and doing your new material?
Womack: That's always an issue, you're right. So you do shorter versions of the hits, or you take out a long guitar solo or things like that to make time for the hits and new music as well. But I don't think any of us ever get to do as much new music as we would like to.
AP: What's your diva request backstage?
Womack: I'm the most low-maintenance person on the road. I ask for bottled water and that's about it. We actually kind of made a joke about it. It's gone in exactly the opposite direction. I don't think there's anybody who asks for as little as we do. A little beer for the band, a little water for me and we're good to go.
AP: What do you do to wind down after a performance?
Womack: We'll sit either in the dressing room and maybe back in the bus for a little bit and start to wind down. I usually have a few autographs and things that I have to do. But my favorite thing is getting in my shower, I have a shower in the back of my bus.
AP: Is it one of those fancy, spa-like things, or is it basic?
Womack: No, it's pretty fancy (laughs). And it's perfect for me. I usually head straight for the shower and de-stress. I have everything in the world I could possibly need back there and it's all in a perfect place. I love my little back room of the bus.
AP: What are your other must-have features on the bus?
Womack: I have a washer and dryer, and I have a queen-size bed in the back with great linens that I got myself. They're Egyptian. Then I have a big plasma screen TV at the foot of my bed on the wall.
AP: When you're on the bus and you have that free time, what do you watch?
Womack: We do watch movies, and I watch a lot of true crime shows, like "Justice Files," "American Justice" and things like that. I watch a lot of Court TV — I love Nancy Grace! (laughs) ... It is ridiculous but that's one of the things I love!
AP: What do you like about crime shows?
Womack: I'm always telling my daughters don't ever do this, just because someone has flashing lights on the top of their car doesn't mean they're an actual police officer, don't pull over until you get to a well-lit place — all kind of things like that. I also like watch people when they get caught, when they're solved, when justice is done.
AP: Do you have a gadget you can't live without that's not you're iPod?
Womack: I love my little Mac G4 computer and we just had Internet installed on the bus ... we all have little Macs actually, there's four of us on the bus, and we all just sit there and surf the Internet! My assistant and I do a lot of shopping. Mostly clothes but sometimes books or music. That's probably it, my little computer. And I also have a camera, a Web cam, and I have one at home, so I can hook up and talk to the girls, and they can see me while we're on the bus in the middle of nowhere.
AP: You have two daughters — how is it traveling with kids?
Womack: It's hard either way, at home or on the bus, I think the hardest thing probably for me is going one second from being mom to right out on the stage and having to be that person too. It's hard to switch gears.
AP: What's the chance you ever hang out in the town you're performing in?
Womack: We do that occasionally, actually. It depends on how long we're in a town. If we're there for a couple of days we at least get to go out one night. A lot of the guys will try and find a gym. I try to find something, maybe a yoga — I do hot yoga. It's like 100 degrees in the room. And then one night, we made homemade ice cream on the bus. So that's the kind of stuff we do.
AP: What's the hardest part of life on the road?
Womack: Well, probably having to be away from home. When I come back I kind of feel like there's a routine going on that I'm not a part of, so that can be difficult.
AP: Finally, what's your favorite hotel alias that you've retired?
Womack: Mr. Weed (laughs).
AP: Mr. Weed? Where does that come from?
Womack: Oh, it's a long story, but one time when I got in trouble (with a friend) when I was in junior high, I was on a school bus and the driver, he said (to my friend) "What's your name, I'm going to report you to the office," and we both gave fake names of people we didn't like. And that's the name that he gave, and later on, I picked that up and used it.