Reviews & Spotlights
Tom Hampton: Out To Pasture
He was the last member in the seminal country rock band POCO and he barely had a cup of coffee as their lead guitarist until their remaining founder Rusty Young died suddenly in 2021. But for Tom Hampton - the guys in the band especially Young and the guitarist whose shoes he would later fill - Paul Cotton - were more than just musicians and bandmates. They were true friends and mentors who gave the young gun Hampton the courage to foster the belief in himself that he actually belonged in their rarefied company.
So, with that being the case Hampton's heartfelt tribute to the music and musicians he truly loved strikes a major moving chord or two as it pulls on the heartstrings that reverberate with both reverence and sadness. Reverence we have already covered. But, 2021 was a tough year for POCO as Cotton also left the building later in the year. So for fans of the country rockers - especially their Cotton/Young led output of the later era - the wounds are still fresh and their loss is still being calculated.
Hampton opens the set with a haunting and worthy original called "Wildwood" that addresses mortality while literally recalling the glory days when the group would gather in Rusty's geographic backyard for a weekend's worth of shows and companionship with their most fervent fans at their favorite lodge in Missouri. The next two tracks put Hampton's capable stamp on a pair of Young classics "One Tear At A Time" and "What Do People Know" that highlight some of Rusty's best songwriting.
There is much more to discover here including two Cotton penned classics but what ultimately shines through is Hampton's multi-instrumental mastery that got him into POCO in the first place. They were legends after all and Out To Pasture stands as a tribute to them - especially on the second POCO themed original track "Legends" that reveals Tom as a world class storyteller in his own right with musical flair that begins to touch the flame of 1978's title track from Rusty and Paul's chart topping breakthrough album. For Hampton - as his liner notes say - it's a love letter, a goodbye note, a road story and a country-rock fairytale, all in one. But, we'll just call it a new beginning that puts the wide range of Hampton's talents on display despite the difficult circumstances that led him here.
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Review by Rockin' Rich Lynch |