Some songs come fast, seemingly out of nowhere, while others take a lot of time and effort to reach the finish line.
Tommy Womack knows all about both scenarios, and the proof is his new single, “We’ll Get Through This Too” / “Feel Beautiful” (Need to Know Records), the latest effort in what’s been an interesting, multifaceted career that’s lasted about 35 years and existed somewhere between famous and under the radar.
Womack’s professional musical adventures began in 1985, when he co-founded Government Cheese. While the band never hit the big time, those experiences resulted in the Kentucky native writing the acclaimed Cheese Chronicles: The True Story of a Rock ’n’ Roll Band You’ve Never Heard Of, published in 1995. Over the past 24 years, the longtime resident of Nashville, Tennessee, has been in another band (Daddy), released several solo albums (2016’s Namaste being the most recent), written a second autobiographical book (2018’s dust bunnies) and worked as a radio host (his Somebody Say Amen show airs Sundays on WMOT-FM).
Womack has no problem remembering what inspired “We’ll Get Through This Too” — Donald Trump the politician, “from the minute he came down that escalator” through his turbulent time in the Oval Office. What Womack doesn’t recall is actually writing the song, which contains such lines as, “He lies every time he breathes / He’s never felt empathy / His mind is a narcissistic stew / And we’ll get through this too.”
“Just one day I didn’t have it, and the next day, there it was,” Womack explains. “It came together quick because I knew it had to get out.”
“We’ll Get Through This Too” was recorded at producer Doug Lancio’s studio with Lancio on electric guitar and bass, Womack on vocals and acoustic guitar and Aaron Smith, whose credits include The Temptations’ “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” on drums.
“He’s Doug’s next-door neighbor— only in Nashville,” Womack says of Smith. “Doug knew Brian Brinkerhoff at Need to Know Records, and a vinyl single release came together very quickly. Brian even paid me a $200 advance! That’s more money than I’ve gotten from a record company in 35 years of doing this.”
As for the single’s flip side, “Feel Beautiful,” Womack says he came up with the first verse in 1988.
“I worked on it here and there for 30 years, and it got better all the time,” he says. “Last year I told myself, ‘OK, let’s finish this thing,’ and I did. What really made it come together was when I tuned the guitar in open D and was able to make a lot of Beach Boys-type chords on the guitar, which made it pretty.
“I’m really proud of that track. I think it’s one of the best and most positive songs I’ve ever written. I hope Side A of the single is obsolete ASAP, but I’ll be singing ‘Feel Beautiful’ for the rest of my life.”
Up next for Womack is an album he describes as “a long one with a lot of covers. The record will start with ‘Miss Otis Regrets’ by Cole Porter, but it’s a gorgeous 12-string pop song now, followed by ‘We’ll Get Through This Too,’ then a new optimistic tune about a happy marriage — which I’m blessed to have — called ‘I Do.’ ”
He adds, “I have demoed a rocking version of ‘That Lucky Old Sun,’ revved up like Jason and the Scorchers or The Blasters. I’ve recorded a rocking, rough-hewn version of The Kinks’ ‘Shangri-La’ and have my eyes on doing Freedy Johnston’s ‘Trying to Tell You I Don’t Know.’ As for the originals, I have a bunch of great songs to record: ‘It’s All About Me,’ ‘Job Hunting While Depressed,’ ‘Persian Domicile,’ ‘Funeral Girl,’ ‘You Don’t Get Over Love’ and ‘A Little Bit of Sex Part II.’ ”
— By Chris M. Junior
Photo by Stacie Huckeba