Posts Tagged ‘Cowboy Music’

Rodeo Man

Posted on: June 29th, 2012 by R.W. Hampton 3 Comments
Colter practicing

Colter Practicing

Getting back to my music……

Rodeo season is in full swing.  Rodeo and ranching are a way of life that go hand in hand. Rodeo can be addictive though because no matter how much hard luck you had in the arena today, there’s always the promise of better luck tomorrow and the prize money that goes along with it. Rodeo and the optimism that seems to drive a man on to the next show is the spirit that embodies the American West.

It’s no secret that I grew up north of the Dallas-Fort Worth area and attended high school at JJ Pearce in Richardson.  I was fortunate that although we lived “in town”, my parents respected my love of the West, desire to have a horse and to be a cowboy. Although I am pretty sure they hoped I would grow out of my career plans they allowed me to keep a horse at a small local stable that boarded horses.  In high school my friends and I decided we needed a rodeo team so we organized ourselves and formed a club.

Our actual rodeo skills were forgettable at best but we had a lot of fun and loved the life, the travel and the friendships that rodeo provided.  A few of us have held to that lifestyle.

My dream was to be a real cowboy working on ranches across the West that beckoned me but my parents insisted I give college a try.  It was short-lived as, although I loved learning, I had a serious disdain for classrooms.  And then the world of ranching, roping, wild cattle, and fast horses beckoned me to the life I had always dreamed of.

Professional rodeo was never a part of my life but in my wilder, younger years I loved entering up in jackpots, local rodeos, team ropings & particularly pasture ropings where just about anything can happen.  I’ve won a few buckles in my day but nothing like my sons, Cooper and Colter.

Coop & Colt at the Texas HS Rodeo Finals

Coop & Colt at the Texas HS Rodeo Finals

For them rodeo and team-roping became a wonderful past-time they shared throughout high-school as they competed in both NHSRA and National Feed-lot Roping competitions around the country.  Cooper went into the Marines, but Colter went on to compete for his collegiate team and in open ropings all over Texas and the West.  Now he trains rope horses for others and works full time as a cowboy caring for over 6,000 yearlings. Of all of us, he has truly lived the rodeo life for a good number of years.

Colter catching 2 feet

One of the many photos around our house of Colter roping

I’m proud to include the song Rodeo Man on my Austin to Boston album because it was written by my son, Colter, a true “Rodeo Man”, who has chased that dream and won his share of buckles, saddles and prize money; but he has also tasted the disappointment of defeat and had to go on to ride again.  It is a bug that gets into your soul and is hard to get out.  When I first heard Colter sing it I knew that it was a song I had to put on this album, because like me, I felt that many of those who hear it will identify with this Rodeo Man and the tough life he has chosen.

What a special way to have art, life, our heritage and our family all wrapped into one song on this album.

When I recorded the song I was honored to have Colter also add his talents in the background vocals, like a ghostly voice from the arena dust of a long forgotten bronc ride.   This song will always hold a special place in my heart because it is the first song of my son’s that I’ve been privileged to record, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have, and I hope he’ll send me another real soon!

Colter and Bucky Heeling

Colter and Bucky Heeling


Why ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’?

Posted on: November 19th, 2010 by R.W. Hampton 1 Comment

That’s what Lee Williams, the British country music radio host, wanted to know in his thick accent during our interview. “I mean, really ‘AhhDubbleyu’, it’s a lovely recording, but you’re an American cowboy music singer and you are singing an English rock song. We’re talking none other than Freddie Mercury and Queen!”

“Well, I know,” I drawled, and proceeded to give him the story which I’ve told many times since in radio and magazine interviews both in the United Kingdom and here at home.

Ya see, I’ve always liked that old rockabilly style, and especially that song, so it’s been rattling around in the back of my mind for about 40 years now. But it wasn’t until I awoke to the fact that I was a 50 year old Dad with an infant son that the song held real meaning for me. That’s right, and one who refused to let his mother and I sleep for MONTHS on end! Lisa and I were not new to parenting by any stretch of the imagination, but our five previous kids didn’t hold a candle to the challenges our precious Ethan Wayne was presenting.

Ethan Wayne Hampton

We were both at our wits end and living the sleep-deprived blur when I found myself in an LA studio recording the tracks for my latest album, Austin To Boston. I was resting between takes of some other song and started strumming my guitar and singing, “This thing called love, it cries in the cradle all night, it swings and jives; it shakes all over like a jelly fish. I kind of like it. This crazy little thing called love.” Everyone stopped what they were doing and listened until I was finished. It was then Joe and Gary, my producers, jumped on me like a duck on a June bug, “That’s cool, man. Let’s record it!”

For a minute I thought they had gone “Crazy,” but it didn’t take me long to warm up to the idea. After all, I’m a man who likes to sing and record material he can relate to, and man, I could – and still can – relate to that song! And the rest is, as they say, “recorded, mixed and in the can.”

Well, crazy as it may seem, that’s the story. And you know, some of the craziest little things turn out to be the biggest blessings. I love you, Ethan, and although Freddie Mercury wrote it, it will always be our song, because you are your momma’s and my Crazy Little Thing Called Love!

Click here to listen to my version of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” from my new CD, Austin To Boston.