by Al Kaufman
You know what’s missing in music today? Guys who write great songs. It’s not missing per se, we just don’t hear about it because we’re too busy trying to find out which singers forgot their underwear when they left the house.
Will Kimbrough and Tommy Womack both wear underwear (or they may not, nobody really cares). They are also great songwriters and performers. By great performers I don’t mean that they parade around on stage in high heels with snakes wrapped around their necks. I mean that they sing poignant, often times hilarious, songs and tell long, meandering, but ultimately entertaining, stories in between. It’s like visiting your favorite crazy uncle who told you all the bad things your parents did as kids, then slipped you a beer when your mom wasn’t looking. It’s that kind of fun, without getting molested afterwards.
Kimbrough has written songs that have been covered by the likes of Jimmy Buffett, Rodney Crowell, Kim Richey, and good friend Todd Snider. He has also produced albums for Snider, Adrienne Young, and Kate Campbell, among others. But he really came to his own with his Americanitis CD. A scathing attack of the Bush administration ("I lie/Why/because I can"), it proved to be more than rants. It was from the point of view of a man trying to figure out how we let things get this screwed up. His follow-up, EP, continues in the same humanistic vein. Part contemplative, part comedic, pure goodness.
Womack is one of Kimbrough’s partners in crime. They are old friends that walk the same crooked path. They sometimes play together under the moniker Daddy. The self confessed "songwriter, author, creator of sensual tension" may not be as well known as Kimbrough, but is just as talented. His latest CD, There, I Said It, examines life from the prospective of a middle-aged man still trying to fight the fact that he’s middle-aged. Then there’s his latest novel, The Lavender Boys and Elsie, about a gay man fighting in the Civil War and the bloodthirsty woman who works with him. It’s got a little more heft to it than those kid’s books Madonna writes.
Good music is still out there. It’s just not on the radio or in the big stadiums. It’s in little intimate clubs, playing for the few who are lucky and smart enough to find it.
Will Kimbrough and Tommy Womack play Eddie’s Attic Sunday, September 14th. 7:30 pm. $15