I Hope You Dance (album)

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I Hope You Dance
I Hope You Dance (album).jpg
Studio album by Lee Ann Womack
Released May 23, 2000
Recorded 1999–2000 at The Sound Kitchen and Javelina Recording Studio, Nashville, Tennessee
Genre Country, Country pop
Length 43:39
Label MCA Nashville
Producer Mark Wright (all tracks except 5, 10, 11), Frank Liddell (tracks 5, 10, 11)
Lee Ann Womack chronology
Some Things I Know
(1998)Some Things I Know1998
I Hope You Dance
Something Worth Leaving Behind
(2002)Something Worth Leaving Behind2002

I Hope You Dance is the title of the third studio release by American country music singer Lee Ann Womack. It was released on May 23, 2000 as her first album for MCA Nashville. The title track was a crossover hit in 2000, becoming her only Number One country hit, while "Ashes by Now", "Why They Call It Falling", and "Does My Ring Burn Your Finger" all reached Top 40 on the country charts as well.


Womack told Billboard "Frank [Liddell] doesn't look for hits; he looks for great songs. He's into making albums, not hit singles. So hopefully what people will see with this project is that it is an album. There are a lot of great songs on there that won't even be singles. You've got to listen to the album to get them." She also stated, "I'm very, very glad I spent that time and didn't come right back out with a new album right after Decca closed. I didn't rush in to make an album. We took a lot of time. I wanted to get it right. It's different for each person, but I think because I did take the time and the care to take care of both of those things as best I could, I feel like some good things are coming in the future."[1]


The first single release from the album was its title track. Featuring guest vocals from then-labelmates Sons of the Desert, "I Hope You Dance" became the only Number One country hit for both Womack and Sons of the Desert in mid-2000. This song was also a crossover hit, topping the Adult Contemporary charts and reaching #14 on the Billboard Hot 100.

After that song came "Ashes by Now", a cover of a song which was previously a #37 pop hit for Rodney Crowell in 1980. Womack's rendition reached #4 on the country charts and #45 on the pop charts. "Why They Call It Falling" was the album's third single, with a #13 country and #78 pop peak. The #23 country hit "Does My Ring Burn Your Finger", written by Buddy and Julie Miller, was the album's last single release.

"I Feel Like I'm Forgetting Something" is the only track on the album that Womack co-wrote, doing so with ex-husband Jason Sellers and Wynn Varble. "Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good" was originally a Number One country hit for Don Williams in 1981.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[2]
Entertainment Weekly(A)[3]
Robert Christgau(2-star Honorable Mention)[4]

Mario Tarradell of The Dallas Morning News gave the album an A rating and wrote, "On I Hope You Dance Ms. Womack digs deeper into the heart and soul of country with an album that honors and challenges the genre. She does it with no fanfare. For her, artistry is about timeless songs and potent messages. This is an album rooted in steel guitars and fiddles without sounding retro. Ms. Womack is recording country music for the next century, not from the last one. Good country music is supposed to put everyday highs and lows in melodic perspective. I Hope You Dance does just that."[5] Tarradel also listed it as the number one album of 2000 and wrote, "Ms. Womack made an album from the soul that just happened to work on mainstream country radio. From the gorgeous title track to the tough-yet-tender ache in her Appalachian soprano, this is country music good enough to stand beside the legendary work of the genre's icons."[6] Editors at The Daily Mail gave the album five stars and wrote, "Lee Ann Womack hailed in the U.S. as the heir apparent to Dolly Parton, sings traditional country material with weepie lyrics and slide guitars. Her power lies in an ability to draw the listener into her emotional songs, whether singing ballads, such as The Healing Kind, or dramatic country-rockers, such as Ashes By Now. Country album of the year so far.[7] Geoffrey Himes of The Washington Post listed the album as the seventh best album of 2000 and he wrote, "Just when you thought mainstream country was hopelessly bankrupt, along comes this diminutive singer with the immense voice, bringing genuine class to the "Forever Young"-like title-track smash and lending some universality to such alt-country writers as Bruce Robison, Rodney Crowell, and Buddy and Julie Miller. Womack is the new Emmylou Harris."[8]

Greg Quill of The Toronto Star said, "Her new CD I Hope You Dance is a spectacular collection of some of the finest story-songs recently crafted in the country and country folk areas, from veteran hit writers Mark D. Sanders' and Tia Sillers' title track – an achingly uplifting song of hope and goodwill – and country staples, Rodney Crowell's "Ashes By Now" and Ronnie Bowman's "The Healing Kind," to the dark and almost perverse offerings of alt-country icon Buddy Miller's "Does My Ring Burn Your Finger?"[9] Editors at Billboard gave the album a positive review and wrote, From the opening fiddle strains on "The Healing Kind" to the cautious optimism of "Lord I Hope This Day Is Good" 11 tracks later, this is an emotional tour de force and one great country record. Womack's voice is a wonder, and here she makes use of some of Nashville's best writers. Beyond the career-defining title track, this is, without question, a career-defining album-one that should push Womack into the big leagues for good.[10] Ralph Novak of People Magazine wrote, "With its rueful tone, evocative songs and emotion-drenched, sweet-voiced vocals, this could have been mistaken for a Dolly Parton album. Who would have guessed it's the erstwhile Texas firebrand Womack in a new mode less suited to honky-tonks than to wedding receptions."[11] Richard Corliss of Time wrote, "Womack's work on this solid set suggests that she's too good for a future in the lounges. She should be playing main rooms for ages to come."[12] Editors at The Straits Times wrote, "No matter how much vocal support she gets, it's her powerhouse voice that rings true. I Hope You Can Dance is a rarity among the current crop of country albums, one that combines the musical sincerity of country heartland with a modern slur without making a wrong turn."[13] Robert Christgau gave the album a two-star honorable mention rating, which corresponds to "a likable effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well enjoy."[4][14]

Track listing[edit]

Tracks 13 and 14 are only included on the Japanese release with serial number UICC-1029.

1."The Healing Kind"Ronnie Bowman, Greg Luck3:02
2."I Hope You Dance" (guest vocals: Sons of the Desert)Mark D. Sanders, Tia Sillers4:54
3."After I Fall"Mark Wright, Bill Kenner, Ronnie Rogers3:03
4."Stronger Than I Am"Bobbie Cryner3:37
5."I Know Why The River Runs"Julie Miller4:57
6."Why They Call It Falling"Don Schlitz, Roxie Dean3:35
7."Ashes by Now"Rodney Crowell4:11
8."Thinkin' with My Heart Again"Sanger D. Shafer, Dean Dillon, Donny Kees2:54
9."I Feel Like I'm Forgetting Something"Lee Ann Womack, Wynn Varble, Jason Sellers3:30
10."Lonely Too"Bruce Robison3:28
11."Does My Ring Burn Your Finger"J. Miller, Buddy Miller3:30
12."Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good"Dave Hanner2:56
Japanese bonus tracks
13."I Hope You Dance (The Rawling Mix)"Sanders, Sillers4:36
14."The Man Who Made My Mama Cry"Billy Lawson, Lee Ann Womack, Dale Dodson4:04


As listed in liner notes.

Strings conducted and arranged by David Campbell, performed by the Nashville String Machine.

Chart performance[edit]

The album sold 76,000 copies during its first week.[15]

Chart (2000) Peak
U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums 1
U.S. Billboard 200 16
Canadian RPM Country Albums 4


  1. ^ Price, Deborah Evans. Billboard Womack Inspires On MCA's 'Dance' (May 13, 2000)
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ EW review
  4. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (2000-08-22). "Getting Them Straight". Village Voice. 
  5. ^ Tarradell, Mario. The Dallas Morning News Eminem stays Shady on encore LP (May 28, 2000)
  6. ^ Tarradel, Mario. The Dallas Morning News Mario Tarradel's Top 10 Country Albums (December 25, 2000)
  7. ^ The Daily Mail Texan tear-jerker keeps it classic (June 2, 2000)
  8. ^ Himes, Geoffrey. The Washington Post Music – The Best of 2000 (December 29, 2000)
  9. ^ Quill, Greg. The Toronto Star Lee Ann Womack (August 3, 2000)
  10. ^ Billboard Lee Ann Womack/Joe Ely (June 3, 2000)
  11. ^ Novak, Ralph. "I Hope You Dance." People 53.24 (2000): 45. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 6 June 2011.
  12. ^ Corliss, Richard. "Beyond Hope." Time 156.7 (2000): 80. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 6 June 2011.
  13. ^ Straits Times Moulin Rouge a case for red faces (July 1, 2001)
  14. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Key to Icons 1990-". 
  15. ^ Variety EMINEM STANDS UP: Rapper's soph disc rushes past Spears' mark (June 1st 2000)