I Sing – Lee Ann Womack “I Hope You Dance”

 Lately I have been thinking of my past life when I worked in live music in San Jose. I know my brother in music Jimmy Arceneaux is in the middle of writing a book about his music days and the stories he has..well you could indeed write a book. While I had a nice career I don’t think I nearly have enough for book…. maybe a novella if I’m lucky. 
   But I thought I would share this story from my days at the EDGE in Palo Alto. At the time of this story,I was booking an acoustic night at the Agenda Lounge in the SoFA district of San Jose.  The night was pretty popular and I had booked in some amazing bands. I was working at the EDGE during the day and I had gotten the itch to book country music at a venue known for hard rock,metal,punk and pop bands.
Add in some world class reggae,ska and even some major bands like No Doubt and Nine Inch Nails during their heydays. But no one had ever tried country yet…..yet.
   My first crack at it involved country singer Lee Ann Womack who was just starting to get some traction on the West Coast. She had done well and had a one big hit in “I Hope You Dance” but still was playing smaller venues in California. My goal was to look at her schedule and see if she had a day off and if so,see if we could sneak in a date at the Agenda. Maybe Lee Ann and two of her band for a quick night between tour stops.
   I ran the idea past both Jimmy and Jacek Rosicki the owner of the EDGE and the Agenda. While both of them looked at me like I was a bit loopy,they also believed in me and my ear. Jacek said I could make a run at it and so I called Lee Ann’s booking agency and spoke to her agent who took my call. 
  I made my pitch,pushing the acoustic nature of the Agenda. It would be a 45-60 minute show and if needed I could provide a opener if needed. The agent liked the idea and said he could do for 5 – I got pretty jazzed,500.00 would be an absolute deal and I said “500.00 and a rider which included meals for Lee Ann and her band. Then her agent gave me my first lesson in country music when he said “5,000”.
  He wasn’t being a dick,he liked the idea and if he could have,he would have given me my date but for one thing- Lee Ann’s bands were union musicians. They weren’t an organic band,they were carefully handpicked to be her band and they weren’t cheap,they got paid and got paid well. Even on off days.
  He said even if he sent Lee Ann by herself with her tour manager and merch guy,the rest of the band would get their pay. I said the best I could do was 500.00 but thanked him for his time. He was just as sorry as I was. 
   I had made my first run at booking a country act and while I fell short,Lee Ann’s popularity popped nationwide soon after and I remember Jacek teasing me gently,maybe we should have offered 750…..and Jimmy said “You’re doing to do this for real,aren’t you”? But that story is for another time…….

“I Hope You Dance” is perhaps Lee Ann’s biggest and most well known hit and it’s a keeper.

 

I Hope You Dance

Lee Ann Womack

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance
I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin’
Lovin’ might be a mistake, but it’s worth makin’
Don’t let some Hell bent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin’ out, reconsider
Give the Heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance (Time is a wheel in constant motion)
I hope you dance (Always rolling us along)
I hope you dance (Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder)
I hope you dance (Where those years have gone?)

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

Dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance (Time is a wheel in constant motion)
I hope you dance (Always rolling us along)
I hope you dance (Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder)
I hope you dance (Where those years have gone?)

Tell me who wants to look back on their years
And wonder where those years have gone

Songwriters: Sanders Mark Daniel, Sillers Tia Maria

5 thoughts on “I Sing – Lee Ann Womack “I Hope You Dance”

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