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Cimarron 615 Makes It Official at The 5 Spot in East Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Following two late summer warm-up shows the new band known as Cimarron 615 finally made it official with an hour long showcase at The 5 Spot in East Nashville on Thursday, September 29, 2022. The group consists of members with a long-term connection to the influential country-rock outfit POCO - especially its founder and longest lasting resident Mr. Rusty Young who sadly passed away early last year.


Cimarron 615 makes it official in East Nashville.

Picking up the pieces following the official end of POCO are Jack Sundrud, Michael Webb, Rick Lonow and Tom Hampton - all players who were hand-picked by Young to take part in versions of his band. The only outlier is guitarist Bill Lloyd who joined Rusty in the post-POCO project the Sky Kings in the 90's so he fits right in just fine. Cimarron 615 formed during a tribute project sponsored by Young's solo label Blue Elan Record and their co-founder Kirk Pasich was in the building to make the introduction saying attendees were in for a real treat - and he was right.


These four men all played significant roles in the last incarnations of POCO.

The evening's set was heavily weighted with tracks from their forthcoming debut Brand New Distance that is scheduled for an early 2023 release. Cimarron 615 was right at home on a bigger stage with more spacing and better lighting that hinted at things to come for this five-piece who are no strangers to the machinations of the music industry. The new songs have power, intricacy and intensity that are only softened by the legendary harmonies that are closely associated with their prolific parent act.


Cimarron 615 and Blue Elan's Kirk Pasich.

As for the new numbers we love the title song, Tom Hampton's "Between the Bitter and the Sweet" and there was one track there with a coda and a reprise that found Bill Lloyd generating some feedback before ripping a closing lead to indicate this new group isn't necessarily your father's POCO. Speaking of Hampton - he handed us his new POCO tribute CD Out To Pasture that he recorded soon after Rusty's passing as a way of closing a chapter in his life and addressing the fact that he really only got a cup of coffee in the band. The eight covers and 2 originals reveal a talented singer and multi-instrumentalist and shows why both Rusty Young and Paul Cotton thought so highly of the fan turned bandmate.


Singer-songwriter Michael Kelsh got the ball rolling on Forrest Ave.

Opening for Cimarron 615 was another Rusty Young associate Michael Kelsh who impressed on a number of stringed instruments at one point donning a POCO cap that was a gift from Young. Kelsh added some tasty slide to the timely "Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning" by Hot Tuna before being joined onstage by Hampton and Webb to close out his spot with Steve Earle's "Ain't Ever Satisfied" that was a satisfactory stopping point.


The Western Edge and Tom Hampton's POCO tribute album.

The official debut of Cimarron 615 at The 5 Spot also served as the unofficial launch of a new exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame called the Western Edge: The Roots and Reverberations of Los Angeles Country-Rock that traces communities of visionary singers, songwriters, and musicians who set about reinvigorating the sounds of pop and rock by infusing elements of country, bluegrass, and folk music. The exhibit surveys the rise of the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Poco, Eagles, Emmylou Harris, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Linda Ronstadt and many others who, in the 1960s and '70s, found commercial success with new sounds that merged rock & roll rhythms and attitude with country and bluegrass instrumentation and harmonies. Lots of profiled dignitaries were seen in town at a variety of opening weekend galas and concerts to mark the nearly three-year long spotlight that will shine on the progenitors of the genre on Demonbruen Avenue.


At The 5 Spot just off of Five Points in East Nashville.

Related Links: For more information on CIMARRON 615 and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Cimarron 615 | Cimarron 615 Is Pickin' Up the Pieces and Keeping the Legend of POCO Alive in Nashville | Tom Hampton | Michael Kelsh | The Spot 5 | Western Edge at the CMHOF


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