“…from the harmonies to the expert songcraft, this thing is an eye opener!”
– Peter Rodman, WXNA Nashville
CIMARRON615 DEBUT ALBUM, “BRAND NEW DISTANCE” OUT APRIL 7TH!
Cimarron615 is a rock and roll case study in history repeating itself.
When Poco founder and sole perennial member Rusty Young died in early 2021, it effectively ended the band’s amazing 53 year run and left adrift its remaining members – 30 year veteran bassist Jack Sundrud, drummer Rick Lonow and rookie guitarist and vocalist Tom Hampton.
The surviving members found themselves facing the same dilemma that surfaced when Buffalo Springfield called it quits in 1968 – and they ended up taking the same path forward, although it didn’t become immediately apparent. In fact, they may have permanently drifted apart if not for one last loose end.
“Kirk Pasich, from Rusty’s record label – Blue Elan – had been working on a Rusty Young tribute album prior to his passing, and he’d asked us to contribute to the album after he passed,” said Hampton. “There was a videotaping of a live show in Joshua Tree that we bundled with the session date, and before we left to return to Nashville, he offered us a record deal.”
For the west coast jaunt, they’d welcomed former Poco multi-instrumentalist Michael Webb back into the fray, and called on guitarist and singer Bill Lloyd – a collaborator with Rusty in the Sky Kings and former partner in country duo Foster and Lloyd to fill out the lineup.
When they returned to Nashville, they found themselves with an album to write, rehearse and record.
Oh, and they needed a name. Enter Michael Webb, who came up with the notion of the name after weeks of throwing around ideas.
“615 is the Nashville area code, so it ties the Poco legacy to us, since we all live here…and Cimarron feels self-explanatory – we’re all connected to Rusty, then and still. The name just makes it official.”
The band is a muscular, versatile evolution of their West-Coast country-rock roots – but their debut album, Brand New Distance, owes as much to American Beauty, Damn The Torpedoes, and Music From Big Pink as it does to the Poco catalog.
Sundrud’s warm, familiar role as a vocalist and songwriter is a strong tether to the bands’ roots while contributing strong new material to the record, while both Rick Lonow and Bill Lloyd bring songwriting and instrumental chops to their freshman effort that make the band the quintuple-threat that they represent. Rick Lonow is a touring and session veteran who was responsible for co-writing Poco’s last hit, Call It Love – and brought the first single, High Lonesome Stranger, to the sessions. Bill Lloyd’s guitar work nakedly reflects his Kentucky roots alongside his long standing power-pop tendencies while Webb and Hampton offer a wide array of sonic contributions – with Webb reprising his role as Youngs’ multi-talented instrumental foil that captivated fans during his tenure with the band and Hampton easing into the role formerly occupied by their founder on lap and pedal steel, dobro, and “whatever Michael isn’t holding at any given moment,” says Hampton. The resulting record is a blissful document of five veterans of the Nashville music community becoming a band.
“People who listen to this record looking for a connection to the past will find that,” Webb says – “But the future is in there if they choose to listen for it.”
“I hope people will see this band and this album like they would an old friend with some great new stories to tell,” says Hampton.
“Every song on this record could be a single,” says Pasich of Blue Elan – “I had high expectations when they went into the studio, but the album was even better than I’d expected – and that’s a good sign.”
Brand New Distance will see the light of day on KZZ/Blue Elan records April 7th.