Former Government Cheese honcho, world-renowned author of The Cheese Chronicles and solo artist, Tommy Womack is Tom Lehrer* with a Telecaster. What else would you call a guy who hides the song “I’m Selling Mom’s Urine on eBay” at the end of this, his third solo record? Well, how about literate and intelligent? Songs such as “Tough” and “We Can’t Do This Anymore” steer clear of the yucks, and are smart, sassy and heartfelt without being cloyingly cute. Womack captures mood like an emotional Polaroid on such songs as “You Could Be at the Beach Right Now, Little Girl” or the title cut. His sidemen, who include Bill Lloyd, Will Kimbrough, Ken McMahan and Lisa Oliver Gray on lovely vocals give the record a “two beers down, roll tape” sorta feel, well captured by co-producer David Henry and Womack. Womack’s homage to The Replacements, with its somber violins and cellos is subtle and moving, and the lines “Paul is in the basement, writing ballads, drinking O’Douls/Bob is up in Heaven, shooting speed and smoking Kools” probably sums up the current state of ‘Mats affairs as well as can be done. This record is more sedate in points than some of his past work, but suffers not a bit for it. Every Tommy Womack record has moments of “you gotta hear this” on it, and Circus Town is no exception.
* Tom Lehrer is a musical satirist who grew to fame in the 1960s, penning such songs as “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park” and “The Old Dope Peddler.” Never heard of him? Ask your parents.
Tommy Womack: http://www.tommywomack.com