Story Behind the Song: Lee Ann Womack, ‘When I Come Around’
Lee Ann Womack and Mando Saenz go way back.In the late 1990s, Womack married record producer Frank Liddell, who is Saenz' publisher. Womack's 2014 album The Way I'm Livin' features as its final track "When I Come Around," written by Saenz and originally recorded for one of his own albums, 2005's Watertown.
Below, Saenz explains how Womack got her hands on "When I Come Around," and what he remembers about hearing her sing it for the first time.
That was on my first record. Geeze, it was one of the first songs I'd ever written, actually, or first batch of songs. She found it -- well, you know, her husband's my publisher and her producer -- so she'd heard that song years and years and years ago, and I think for the kind of record they were making, that was just one they pulled from the vault.
They listen to lots of music, whether it's songs by people they know or they don't know; they're a very musical family, obviously. They took a swing at that one, which was very flattering, since I wrote it by myself and never wrote it with intentions of anybody else singing it but me. Having someone like her sing anything you write is such a thrill.
Frank may have mentioned she might [cut it] -- that they were thinking about it or something -- but then he texted me. Because the song's written from a male perspective -- you know, not too much, but you have to change a few "he"s to "she"s and stuff like that -- so he texted me about some lyric stuff, and that's when I kind of new that they were probably recording it. She did such a great job on it, so [it's] such a thrill.
[When I first heard her version of it,] Frank took me to the studio. She was still not even done with the record; I don't even think she was done with the actual master vocal yet. But they played it for me, and I was just blown away ... I hadn't really had much experience hearing other people sing my songs [at the time], especially songs that I wrote by myself, so that was the first time I actually ever heard something like that ... It was really great.