POCO Live at South Orange Performing Arts Center, March 31st at 7PM
One of the first and longest-lasting Country-Rock groups, POCO had their roots in the dying embers of Buffalo Springfield. After Neil Young and Stephen Stills, the co-founders of Buffalo Springfield exited in the spring of 1968, only guitarist/singer Richie Furay and bassist Jim Messina remained to complete the group’s swan song of an album, Last Time Around. The final Buffalo Springfield track, “Kind Woman,” included only Furay and Messina, with a guest appearance on steel guitar by Rusty Young. At the time, Young was something of a rarity as a talented lap steel guitarist who was comfortable working in a Rock idiom. Young stuck with Furay and Messina and brought in two of his friends from Colorado to join the band. Drummer George Grantham and bass player Randy Meisner moved to California and signed on as POCO’s rhythm section.
Rusty Young – lead vocalist, guitar, pedal steel
Jack Sundrud – bass, vocals
Michael Webb – vocals, stringed instruments, keys and accordion.
Rick Lonow – drums and vocals
POCO began performing in Hollywood at clubs like The Troubadour and gained the attention of several record companies. They signed with Epic in the fall of 1968 and released their debut album Pickin’ Up The Pieces, in 1969. The band’s lineup changed a number of times over the years and it was the sixth reformation of POCO that proved to be the magical one that saw lots of chart-toppers. POCO released Legend 1978 and the single “Crazy Love,” written and sung by Young, became POCO’s biggest hit reaching the Top 20 on the Pop singles chart and crossing to the Country Top 100, the following year. Paul Cotton’s “Heart Of The Night” became a Top 20 Pop hit and helped propel sales past the 500,000 unit mark. POCO earned their first Gold disc and Legend eventually passed the one million sales mark to be certified Platinum. The title track of POCO’s 1980 album Under The Gun, reached the 40’s on the Pop chart and “Midnight Rain” went Top 75. The band recorded the Civil War themed album Blue And Grey in 1981 and Cowboys And Englishmen in 1982. The Ghost Town provided the Top 50 hit single, “Shoot for the Moon.”
POCO’s Inamorata and featured a reunion of sorts when released in 1984. On this album Furay, Grantham, Meisner, and Schmit joined POCO in the studio to sing on a few tracks. Later in the 80s, Young and Cotton occasionally performed as POCO with various Nashville studio musicians providing the rhythm section. In 1989, Young and Furay got the original POCO back together to record a Legacy which was released a year later.
The reunion album produced the pre-released 1989 Top 20 Pop hit and video, “Call It Love” and POCO embarked on a worldwide tour to support the album. They had a 1990 Top 40 Pop hit with “Nothin’ To Hide,” which was co-written and produced by Richard Marx. Throughout the 90s and first decade of 2000 POCO, led by Rusty Young, Paul Cotton and Jack Sundrud with the addition of drummer George Lawrence continued to be a recording and touring force logging 100 shows each year. In addition to releasing a new studio CD, Running Horse in 2003, the live DVD Keeping The Legend Alive in 2005, Bareback At Big Sky in 2006 and unplugged album The Wildwood Sessions in 2007. POCO has always maintained their musical superiority and the new incarnation will continue to be musically superior with a foot in the past, present and future. As Rusty Young says, “Hang on, this could be quite a ride.”