NOTE: The Sunday Sept. 6th show is sold out. Contact us if you want to be placed on a waiting list for it.
In what’s become a local end of summer tradition, renowned songsmith Tom Pacheco returns to Phoenicia this Labor Day weekend for two concerts at the Empire State Railway Museum, on Saturday September 5 and Sunday September 6. The doors open at 7:00 p.m. both nights with music beginning at 7:30 sharp. Admission is $18 or $15 with RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Email for information or call 845-688-9453. It’s a testimony to both Tom’s talent and his popularity that seats for this engagement always disappear quickly, so advance reservations are strongly urged.
Though Tom Pacheco has strong roots here in the Woodstock area, his appeal can hardly be called regional, or even national for that matter. His fan base in Australia, for example, is now clamoring for Tom to head down under where one of the songs off of his most recent CD, Boomtown, has received major airplay. That song, “Julian,” about Australian native Julian Assange of Wikileaks fame, illustrates perfectly how Pacheco’s incisive social commentary continues to dance on the cutting edge of controversy, featuring lines like “they call you Benedict Arnold, but you are Paul Revere.”
Controversy is something Tom has never shied away from during a career that spans almost five decades. Maverick Magazine, one of the UK’s leading music publications, says, “In many ways (Tom’s) is a voice crying in the wilderness, just as Guthrie’s was back in the time of the great depression, and Seeger’s was in the fifties – and Dylan’s was, when he gave voice to those unable to express their own fears and frustrations in the early sixties.” AccousticMusic.com adds to that theme saying, “Pacheco can very well stand in a line of great folksingers, ranging from Woody Guthrie, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Pete Seeger, and Bob Dylan. There is nothing that makes him less relevant or important than them…” That may help explain why Pete Seeger asked Tom to join him on stage to help celebrate his 90th birthday at Madison Square Garden, and why, while recording “There Was a Time” in a Catskill studio in the spring of 2000, Pacheco was honored to have Pete Seeger accompany him on banjo for two songs.
Controversy, or rather corporate efforts to stifle it, has bedeviled Tom Pacheco for much of his career. Tom’s refusal to cooperate with efforts to sanitize his creative message contributed to Tom stepping away from some potentially rewarding opportunities in the mid-1980s, including a songwriting job on salary with Mel Tillis Music in Nashville and a proposed recording contract with a CBS subsidiary label in New York. Instead, Pacheco moved to Europe for ten years where his music was warmly received. His fan base there remains strong to this day. In one year during that ten year period, Tom racked up five top ten hits in Norway alone.
Through all the many years, nothing and no one has stopped Tom from continuing to speak his mind, all the while making some great music in the process. With the recent release of “Boomtown” Britains iROOTS Magazine commented, “Tom has over the past four decades persistently followed his muse and produced more than twenty albums of thought-provoking, original songs.” It would be a mistake to try to typecast Tom Pacheco as a protest singer, though none can do that as well as he when he sets his mind to it. Tom Pacheco has been called a, “quintessentially American songwriter” by Dirty Linen Magazine and Hugh Gregory of Folk Roots says, “Tom Pacheco is one of the most impressive singer/songwriters of our times.”
There is good reason why Nashville wanted Tom as a songwriter and why record labels periodically came to call despite Pacheco’s strong maverick streak. Tom Pacheco is a world class, all around songwriter whose songs have been covered by Richie Havens, the Jefferson Starship, and the Band among others. His late sixties group Euphoria (with Pacheco as main songwriter) recorded an album in 1969 (it now has underground cult status) on Heritage Records, an affiliate of MGM. In 1971, Clive Davis signed Tom Pacheco and his partner Sharon Alexander to Columbia after a live audition; and in 1976, RCA Records recorded two Pacheco solo albums in Los Angeles, both produced by the legendary George “Shadow” Morton (known for his work with the Shangri-Las, a then-young Janis Ian, Vanilla Fudge, and the New York Dolls among others). Despite Morton’s sterling industry reputation, even he couldn’t convince RCA to release several of the Pacheco cuts he produced because RCA deemed the contents, yes, too controversial.
Looking back on an amazing career, Tom Pacheco’s colorful early years in New York City’s Greenwich Village form the emotional basis for Boomtown’s poignant and nostalgic first cut “MacDougal Street Summer 1966,” and the entire CD–when not turning toward the political–offers as a theme reflections on a long life well lived, with hope, love, loss, and redemption all playing important roles. Boomtown is a major work that continues to receive significant air play internationally, but Tom has never been one to rest on his laurels. While Tom Pacheco will be performing songs off of that release, he promises that his Labor Day weekend audiences will also hear some new songs never before sung in public, along with selected favorites from years gone by.