LeAnn Rimes Presents Lady and Gentlemen Live

Once you’ve heard LeAnn Rimes sing her cover versions of legendary hits by Merle Haggard, George Jones and Waylon Jennings, you may find a whole new way to love those songs. Her acoustic tour kicked off here in Chicago on Saturday night (Sept. 18) in an intimate theater packed with about 1,000 fans. She spent about half of her 90-minute set doing songs off her upcoming album, Lady and Gentlemen, with a simple three-man band behind her. In addition to playing Haggard’s “I Can’t Be Myself,” Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and Jennings’ “Good Hearted Woman,” she opened the show with Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make it Through the Night” and John Anderson’s “Swingin'” (one that Rimes said she learned to love when her parents played it during her worst colic days as a baby). Rimes called the new album “a covers record with a little twist, because it’s all songs by men with my female perspective on them” — not to mention her powerful pipes and her charming presence. She also did a handful of her own big hits and new tunes from an album she is currently producing. The standout from that part of the set was a song that she initially forgot early on in the night. “That’s the first time since I was 11 that that has ever happened to me,” she said. “That’s freakin’ hysterical.” But when she tried it again toward the end of the show, she remembered all the words. And with lyrics about “Oh my God, what have I done? I broke the sweetest heart of the only man that’s ever loved me, I don’t know what I’ve become,” I doubt anyone in the crowd will ever forget that song either.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.