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March 6, 2001

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Tommy Womack Stubborn
Checkered Past Records
Sideburn Records

Last Saturday night at O'Rourke's Irish Pub was the second time I had seen Tommy Womack play with Will Kimbrough. So when I went up to speak to Will I was intrigued to see that Womack had a CD for sale. I ended up buying not one but two of his CDs, 1998's Positively Na Na and his most recent release Stubborn. I went home feeling good for supporting independent music but I had no idea what a deal I had gotten. I soon found I had not one but two of the best recordings I'd ever heard.

Filled with witty lyric and excellent guitar, Positively Na Na starts off with Womack a capella and soon bursts into wide open acoustic, rock-n-roll lead and Nashville pedal steel guitars. In fact, the entire two CDs are filled with some of the best studio and backing musicians in the business. In addition to Mobile's own Will Kimbrough (who also played with Womack in The bis quits), there is Dan Baird (Georgia Satellites), Jason Ringenberg (Jason and the Scorchers), Mike Grimes (The bis quits), Al Perkins (Gram Parsons) and many more forming a veritable Who's Who of Roots Rock.

But it is his sense of the absurd that makes Womack stand out as a solo artist. Stubborn picks right up where Positively Na Na left off. From the Presbyterian porn star of Dreams and Golden Rivers to the cross-dressing Johnny in Johnny Bought a Ring, both CDs are peopled by the downtrodden and fringe-dwellers. Yet, throughout all the gun-toting lesbians and pregnant prom queens runs a seamless river of music-strong, clear and extremely fresh. This is White-boy Blues with a Nashville twist and a little bit of 'wry'. All this makes Tommy Womack the best songwriter you never heard and Positively Na Na and Stubborn two of the best CDs you just can't miss!

--Thomi Sharpe


The Harbinger