Tommy is coming to Paducah! On the heels of his new album release NAMASTE’! This is a night you won’t get often here in Paducah!
Beloved singer-songwriter invokes God, Beatles and other iconsas he examines approaching “the back nine”
Womack himself has always been considered cool, from his days in Bowling Green, Ky.’s next-generation punk-rock band Government Cheese to the Bis-Quits, his first Nashville outing with musical brother and Daddy co-founder Will Kimbrough, who plays guitar on Namaste. Womack built further cool cred with his book, The Cheese Chronicles: The True Story of a Rock ’n’ Roll Band You’ve Never Heard Of.
Along the way, he honed his folky twang and Replacements-influenced rock edge into a sound that’s all Americana, filling seven solo albums and writing songs recorded by Jimmy Buffett, Jason Ringenberg and others, including sometime co-writer Snider. He’s also earned two “Best Song” awards in theNashville Scene critics’ poll, and entertained the community with his Clash cover band, Tommy Gun, and an occasional event he and co-conspirator Bill Lloyd called the Alphabetical Kinks.
If the tables were ever turned and Ray Davies did a Womack tribute, he’d likely get a particular kick out of ”End of the Line.” Co-written with Rich McCulley — and technically, by album producer Brad Jones, who didn’t want a credit — Womack says, “That song is about pursuit of your dream, and I’ve been pursuing mine for 31 years. It’s been like Ahab chasin’ the whale ever since — and knowing that the end of the line is comin’; I’m on the back nine, as a golfer would say.”
Yes, he looks at life differently now that he knows how quickly it could end. And that it’s going to someday, even if he manages to continue avoiding a hastened demise. That’s why the album’s benediction, “It’s a Beautiful Morning,” co-written with John Hadley, sounds so much sweeter. In it, he sings, “I once had the devil hold on to me so/I asked him to free me. He wouldn’t let go/But miracles happen, is all I can say/It’s a beautiful morning. It’s a beautiful day.”
“It’s a song of gratitude,” Womack explains. “God likes prayers that are basically like a thank-you note, being grateful for what you’ve got. A lot of prayers I’ve offered in my years were more like obscene phone calls or ransom notes.”
As Allmusic.com’s Mark Deming once noted, “Womack writes rock ’n’ roll songs about everyday stuff — falling in love, trying to stay in love, life’s ups and downs of all shapes and sizes — with good humor, a strong dose of common sense, and the smarts to understand when this stuff is funny and when it isn’t.”That’s why his friends turned out that night at Music City Roots in Franklin, Tenn. That’s why his head is bowed in a prayerful pose of thanks. And that’s why he titled the album — completed in six days, coincidentally — with that spiritual Sanskrit greeting.As he sings in the closing tune, “I don’t know what’s coming this afternoon/If I think about it, it’ll get here too soon/Why worry what’s coming, it’ll come any way/It’s a beautiful morning. It’s a beautiful day.”