The Tango Cowboys is a duo that performs fun-loving music from America (North and South), specializing in vocal tangos and cowboy songs from the 1930s and 1940s and beyond. They tell stories of their songs directly to the audience, inviting them to journey from the open range of the wild west and the small cafe in Buenos Aires. In January the Tango Cowboys released their first CD and presented three workshops and a showcase performance at The Bellingham Folk Festival.
Guitarist Tom Bourne began in the 1960s playing surf guitar in the Arizona desert. His six-string journey has led him through rock, country, folk, classical, and jazz, working as a college guitar and music teacher, as a performing soloist, in various bands, and in the pit for many musicals. In forming Tango Cowboys with singer Rich Hinrichsen, Tom was taken by the harmonies of Rich’s piano arrangements of Carlos Gardel’s tango songs, which evoked memories of his immersion as a young classical guitarist in the sounds of Argentina. Adapting Rich's piano accompaniments to guitar, Tom creates a backdrop that is elegant and earthy. In their cowboy and folk songs, Tom draws from jazz, country fingerpicking and Celtic music, bringing expansive harmonies and dreamy rhythms to the Tango Cowboy soundscape.
Rich was inspired to take up music by his Father Bill who sang songs from musicals and played guitar, performing songs like "Try To Remember." As a youngster, Rich watched serial westerns starring John Wayne, sang, played violin, double bass, and piano, and performed in church groups, school, and around a small community in southwest Washington State. While a student in Ellensburg, Rich briefly played bass in a country group led by guitar Tom Bourne and songwriter/singer Steve Peha. In 2016 Rich and Tom met at a reunion and decided to form a duo after their rendition of Steve Peha's "Spaghetti Western Cowboy," turned out to be a hit with the audience. Over the years Rich developed a love for tango, which began when he saw Al Pacino play a blind man who danced tango in "Scent of a Woman." He discovered that the tango in the movie was written by the great Carlos Gardel, and after hearing Gardel sing, was sold on learning those beautiful songs. Rich travelled to Buenos Aires to visit the last resting place of Carlos Gardel and to learn from singer Micaela Vita to bring tango to life and discover his own singing style.