Lee Ann Womack released a new album, The Way I'm Livin', in September 2014, and she says that the process she used to make the record was a little different than what she's done in the past.

This time around, Womack chose not to worry about the project's future at radio or on the country charts.

“It’s a really freeing experience to be able to go into the studio and just cut songs that you love and not worry about radio or a chart or anything like that," she says. "It’s a little scary because I've played that game for so long, [but] as a musician and as a singer, it just was thrilling.

"This album represents how I feel like songs used to be written," Womack adds. "You know, not by committee, but these songs were written to be performed."

With that in mind, the singer recorded The Way I'm Livin' directly with her band, rather than cutting each musician separately.

“The vocals on this record came out a little more live sounding because they were," Womack reveals. "There’s an energy that goes down when you’re all looking at each other, you know? I can hear that in these recordings."

All that effort worked out well for the singer: The record has earned critical acclaim and received a nomination for Best Country Album at the 2015 Grammy Awards (Miranda Lambert took home the award, for her record Platinum). The nomination was especially important to Womack because she worked with her husband and producer, Frank Liddell, on the project.

“We’re each other's biggest cheerleader, you know, so it’s fun for us," Womack says. “Music in our household plays the No. 1 role. My kids listen to all kinds of music, which is better than I can say for myself because I only listened to straight-up country music."

Those early country influences have translated heavily into the music that Womack releases. She hopes to tell real stories with her tunes, rather than simply get a crowd going.

“There’s some things I know about traditional country music: Historically, it has told the stories of the American people -- real life and honesty and truth," she explains. "Life is not always a three-and-a-half-minute, positive, uptempo song, you know?"