Lee Ann Womack Serenades at Equality Dinner

Annual Event in Nashville Is Part of Human Rights Campaign

Songstress Lee Ann Womack gave a brief but rapturously received performance Saturday (March 18) at the 11th annual Human Rights Campaign Equality Dinner held at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville. The event raises funds to benefit gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.

Womack came to the dinner following her appearance earlier in the evening on the Grand Ole Opry. Dressed in a powder blue, low-cut gown and backed only by an acoustic guitarist, Womack opened with “I May Hate Myself in the Morning.” This tongue-in-cheek bit of self-recrimination seemed to catch the crowd’s fancy and elicited a wave of knowing laughter each time Womack sang the refrain, “I may hate myself in the morning/But I’m gonna love you tonight.”

As she teetered on uncomfortably high heels, Womack confided, “I wore these shoes just for you — all of you. And they hurt like hell.” She next sang “Twenty Years and Two Husbands Ago” and then concluded with her megahit, “I Hope You Dance.” The crowd rewarded her with a prolonged standing ovation.

Womack wasn’t the only country artist to express solidarity with the gay community. Although not in attendance, Terri Clark, Emmylou Harris and Mary Gauthier each contributed signed memorabilia to the silent auction held before the dinner started.

Universal Music also donated signed items from Womack, Reba McEntire, Sugarland and Billy Currington. Warner Bros. provided autographed albums from Big & Rich, and another patron offered Loretta Lynn memorabilia. In keeping with the country motif, the organizers played Diamond Rio’s “Bubba Hyde” repeatedly during the dinner.

Corporate sponsors for the event included Bridgestone Tires, First Tennessee Bank, WTFV-TV/Nashville, Wells Fargo and CMT.

HRC’s national headquarters says the dinner was sold out, with 625 people attending.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.