CD REVIEW: The Womack Family Band’s debut album

CD REVIEW: The Womack Family Band

The eponymous debut from the Womack Family Band hits your ears with more impact than mere sound waves. It’s a genuine album of dreaming, sincerity, and most blatantly – talent. A blend of Americana and folk, the Womack Family Band offers more than typical instrumental choices. The quintet from North Central Ohio released the album in September of 2010 and has already toured the US in support of it via the Drenched Earth tour with Chris Castle. If you are only learning of them now, don’t feel it is ill-timed – they’ll be in Wadsworth this Thu 5/5 at Sonnets Café.

Delving into the source of their tight tunes, you will find three main elements: instrument variation, lyrics, and consistent talent among the members. Instruments range from guitar and drum to trumpet, euphonium, trombone and – a rarity among bands – clarinet. I may have only listed half of the instruments used. The sound has a distinct Americana feel – sticking to the roots of music and keeping it in its earthy, organic state.

Lyrically, it is difficult to listen to the album and still think you are in the year 2011. “That’s when I got to ponderin’ about the money I been squanderin’, bout the people I been cheatin’ and the women I been beatin’ on; no I never gave a damn about nothin’ till I met you.” Even if you remember the current time and setting, you’re picturing porches in sepia. The first words of the album set the mood: “Mama let the tap run on a steady drip, Papa took his shoes off and chewed upon his lip and said I’m not gonna last, all good things have passed. Life for me has come and gone.” The album has 15 distinct songs, compiled by the three songwriters in the band, a quality not many bands can boast. Noah and Haley Heyman – the only blood relations in the band – and Tony Schaffer write songs that will take you to the riverside. Cory Webb holds the songs together on drum with Kevin Obermeyer bringing in the brass section.

It is rare to find a musical act in which each member is equally talented. Song to song, members pass the torch, share the torch, and start bonfires. It is a beautifully crafted album with different vocals on each song and splashes of soul and blues throughout. The vocals easily blend together, creating spot-on harmonies. Check out “Sysiphus’ Stone” – two minutes and ten seconds in you will know what I’m talking about.

Having caught a show on their recent Drenched Earth tour with Chris Castle, I am advising you to look at their tour schedule and find one that meets your schedule. It is a night of music absorption. Again, it is amazing to watch each member head a different song, each at a consistent level.

The Womack Family Band will be at Sonnets Café in Wadsworth this Thu 5/5. Learn more/hear more at and stop by!

In a band/know a band/see a band? Email Laurie at!


Laurie Wanninger is a Cleveland convert, having lived in Pittsburgh for 20 years. After attending John Carroll University, she was sold on the city and now lives, works and breathes Cleveland. Spare time is spent DJing Music for Your Laundry List at WJCU 88.7, bicycling, going to local concerts and dreaming of microbrews and National Parks.

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