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Cimarron 615 Is Pickin' Up the Pieces and Keeping the Legend of POCO Alive in Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Multi-instrumentalist Michael Webb was pretty adamant that the event that took place on June 30, 2022 at Brown's Diner in Nashville, Tennessee was in no way a "band" show. In fact, he said it was more of a party and celebration that his new group's album was being mastered on this day and it was just a coincidence that all the members were in town for the holiday weekend and they co-opted his solo gig with guitarist Tom Hampton.

The members of Cimarron 615 take the stage in Nashville.

But, if it looks like a duck, and sounds like a duck - you can take it to the bank. It's a duck. In this case the birds of a feather that stick together are called Cimarron 615. They take their name from a famous mid-70's POCO song "Rose of Cimarron" and they came together under bitter circumstances but their immediate future is shaping up to be pretty sweet.

For admirers of the country rock pioneers POCO the calendar year 2021 was none too kind to their fanbase known as the "POCOnuts" or to the many musicians who made the acquaintance of the influential players in the band. Take for instance Rusty Young who co-founded the group in 1968 and helped bring a fiery pedal steel guitar to the forefront of the band's prolific catalog. Rusty, together with longtime guitarist Paul Cotton kept the legend of POCO alive long past what should have been their expiration date according to critics and musical trends. When the pair both passed last year it left a void and closed a chapter on their iconic career.

Longtime Rusty Young associate Bill Lloyd takes his talents to Cimarron 615.

But, it was late in life when Rusty Young finally gave in to the pressure to record a solo album proper and he did so with help from the Americana label Blue Elan Records. The company - like many of his fans - was so moved by Young's sudden and unexpected passing that they arranged a tribute album and documentary in his honor. These projects gathered many of Rusty's friends and former bandmates from the latter years of POCO's history and a new group was born.

One thing you can learn about Rusty Young through his associates is that in addition to being a world-class songwriter in his own right is he had a good ear for talent. When Cotton ultimately left the band after a long tenure, Young turned to Nashville music royalty in the form of Mike Webb who entered the fold with an accordion in tow and changed up their sound. Webb was in the group for an album and some touring cycles before departing. The last man drafted into POCO was Pennsylvania's Tom Hamton who literally barely had a cup of coffee in their presence before Young left this world too soon. Cimarron 615 is rounded out by longtime POCO bass player Jack Sundrud, drummer Rick Lonow and Rusty's bandmate from his 90's group The Sky Kings - Bill Lloyd.

The wait is almost over as the Cimarron 615 debut is set to drop in the Fall.

Webb made it a point to declare from the "stage" at Brown's Diner that this was an informal get together to shake off the rust and remember what it's like being in a band. From our vantage point it looked more like some detailing work was being done as the POCO classics presented like "Pickin' up the Pieces", "Kind Woman" and "Call It Love" were rolled out. The evening's high point "Heart of the Night" tugged on the heartstrings and showed that the POCO pedigree was still fully on display. It was the new songs however, co-written by Hampton that proved the new guy to be a real ringer. "Try Again" and "Between the Bitter and the Sweet" were both top-shelf compositions that could go to the top of the charts. Where was this guy when the band was in their nearly constant and desperate pursuit of a "hit" throughout the 70's???

POCOnuts and the rest of the music buying public will get a chance to hear the debut from Cimarron 615 when it is released in early Fall on Blue Elan Records. After the loose jam at Brown's Diner we asked both Tom Hampton and Jack Sundrud if the record will have elements of the traditional POCO harmonies intact. Jack responded with an affirmative "yes" while Tom said the album's opener is an A Cappella number. So, it sounds like it's going to be good and that is most definitely a good feeling to know. Because, the boys in Cimarron 615 have a long musical legacy to live up to. But, it sounds like they're up to the task at hand.

Brown's Diner in Nashville since 1927.

Related Links: For more information on CIMARRON 615 and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Cimarron 615 | Cimarron 615 - Facebook | Cimarron 615 - YouTube


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