Tommy Womack

After taking a spin through Tommy Womack's latest album, Stubborn, it's obvious to see the guy can do practically anything. The Nashville-based wordsmith has the heart of a rocker, the fatalism of a seasoned troubadour, a wit that rivals that of Bap Kennedy or Robbie Fulks, the weird streak of an aging boho, and a backwoods country twang that recalls Steve Earle and Jim Lauderdale at their most playful and loose-limbed. But Womack is his own strange man -- a bitter comic, a romantic loser -- and Stubborn, his second longplayer, resonates with rebel passion, drunken charm, and biting black humor.

With a revolving cast of session pros and guest-star buddies sitting in on various tracks, the album has a deceptively nonchalant ambiance that almost undermines the darkness of its finest moments. Listen closely, though, and you'll hear Womack's acidic wordplay and cynical brilliance cut through the rollicking, rambunctious trashed-up country rock and roll. "I Don't Have a Gun" is a lacerating near-suicidal rant from a dejected lover who's not sure whether or not he's glad his baby is gone, while the self-explanatory "Going Nowhere" is a bleak shot of pessimism set to a loping honky-tonk groove and punctuated with some fine backing vocals from Scorchers frontman Jason Rigenberg. Elsewhere Womack turns to rootsy, achy power-pop on "She Likes to Talk" and "The Urge to Call," revamps mid-Sixties Dylan on "Up Memphis Blues," and balances both tragedy and hilarity on "Dreams and Golden Rivers," a country rave-up that summarizes everything great about this Music City oddball. Too bad there aren't more like him.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
John Floyd