After more than three decades as a recording artist, Tom Pacheco has finally released an album that’s available both in North America and in Europe. In the late 1980s, Pacheco moved to Europe, where he released eleven recordings (including two double albums). Although Pacheco’s body of work is impressive, There Was A Time, his first studio effort since moving back to the U.S., is especially strong. Many of Pacheco’s songs deal with people on the edge of society, but the title of his new album alludes to more reflective moods and themes, each song having to do with time in either subtle or explicit ways.
The mood is set with “Indian Prayer”, a beautiful song about the original spirit of the land. “Broken Piano” visually conjures up the stark image of a piano that was left out in the desert. “Butterfly” retells the story of the woman who spent two years up in an old redwood to protect it from loggers. “What About Us” is a prescient and timely song that foresaw such recent events as the Enron and Worldcom debacles, while “Heroes” delicately tackles 9/11.
The production by Scott Petito is beautifully understated, the melodies and singing wistful, and the lyrics both compassionate and literate. Although there are fewer uptempo songs than Pacheco usually delivers, There Was A Time is one of his most consistent albums.