“Rock and roll means well, but can’t help telling young boys lies,” a wise man once sang. Now What!, the most recent album from journeyman Nashville singer-songwriter Tommy Womack, is about what happens after rock and roll promises have been broken and you no longer believe those lies.
It’s not a new topic for Womack, a Nashville knockabout who once fronted the post-punk band Government Cheese and is now one of legions of middle-aged Americana musicians frequenting the nation’s coffeehouses. Womack’s previous album, 2007’s There, I Said It!, was animated by much the same subject. It spoke it plainly on “I’m Never Gonna Be a Rock Star” and turned rock-after-40 into shamanic manifesto on the nearly-seven-minute “Alpha Male & The Canine Mystery Blood,” about a real band Womack never saw. Best of all, though, is the lovely heartbreaker “Nice Day,” about swimming in a neighbor’s pool with his son.
Here's Womack performing on the Music Fog/Celebrity Coaches bus at Folk Alliance in Memphis in 2010:
Tommy Womack -- "Alpha Male & The Canine Mystery Blood"
As a follow-up, Now What! is about finding peace and honor in resignation. “One hundred bucks to play three sets” may be as good as it’s gonna get, but with the strong love of a wife and son and a realistic grip on his many vices -- “On & Off the Wagon,” “Pot Head Blues,” and “Let’s Have Another Cigarette” are among the 12 titles -- he figures it’s all alright. “Wishes Do Come True” is a title too.
Tommy Womack plays Otherlands Coffee Bar on Saturday, September 28th, with Ben Reel and Austin Smith. Admission is $7. Showtime is 8pm.