Review: R.W. Hampton "Austin To Boston"

The world's number one cowboy country singer is back with a new collection of songs that will thrill existing fans and bring in thousands of new ones, too. R.W. Hampton's "Austin To Boston" is a terrific example of an artist who is comfortable in his own skin and is not afraid to venture outside traditional country and western song selections.
Every fan of cowboy country already knows that an R.W. Hampton album will have top notch production and stellar vocals, so the biggest surprise is the album's uniquely wonderful song choices. "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" was an inspired choice that Hampton dedicated to his wife and kids. Likewise, "Shortgrass" was written as a tribute to Hampton's son Cooper (and Cooper's best friend, Dawson) who decided to join the Marines while in high school. The two buddies have now traveled the world, and their service to the USA has been honored in perpetuity by R.W. Hampton's memorable song.

R.W. Hampton's friend Brad Johnson introduced him to the Michael Bublé song "Home," and the cowboy crooner's vocal interpretation puts the lyrics in a whole new perspective. As you hear Hampton sing, you imagine a cowboy sitting on a horse among a vast stretch of land wishing for the woman he loves, and "Home" definitely has radio potential. The Cindy Walker track "You Don't Know Me" also deserves special mention for its superb instrumentation and arrangement.

The surprises continue, because the best song on "Austin To Boston" was written by Hampton's son, Colter Hampton. The title of the album comes from Colter's song "Rodeo Man," and it is an inspirational cowboy anthem that is performed by his father with passion and intensity. The lyrics sizzle with heartfelt emotion, and the song will likely stand the test of time.

Hampton's powerful arrangement of "Danny Boy" will also turn the heads of new fans and old. At the same time, "Cowboy's Prayer" will also be readily embraced by both cowboys and other workers (or businessmen) who are forced to spend long amounts of time away from home. "Dream On Little Dreamer," which was performed with his daughter Gina in mind, could also be a radio single. Program directors should take notice.

The fourteen songs on "Austin To Boston" represent a tremendous achievement for R.W. Hampton. Not content to rest on his sterling reputation, Hampton has created a remarkably diverse collection of songs that have been sequenced and performed perfectly. This is no easy feat, but we would expect no less from a hard working cowboy.