Call it POCO

By Emily Brickler

In 1966, Stephen Stills, Richie Furay, and Neil Young had a little band called Buffalo Springfield.  The band had a folk/country kind of sound with a psychedelic rock influence.  They, along with other bands like The Birds, brought what was called “folk rock” to the forefront of the music scene.  By 1968 Jim Messina had joined the band, but they were starting to  break up.  A young steel guitarist named Rusty Young, who had played a few sessions on some of Richie Furay’s songs, joined up with Messina and Furay to start a new band called POCO. Actually, the band was originally called Pogo, but because of the then-popular comic strip of the same name, its creator, Walt Kelly, made them change it.

The POCO band members included Richie Furay on vocals and rhythm guitar; Rusty Young on pedal steel guitarbanjodobro, guitar, mandolin and vocals; George Grantham on drums and vocals; Randy Meisner as bassist and vocals, and Messina as lead guitar, vocals, and producer. Known for what was dubbed “country rock,” they released their first album in 1969, called Pickin’ Up the Pieces, a reference to the Buffalo Springfield breakup.  POCO has changed band members many times over the years, but the one member who has remained constant and been there from the beginning is Rusty Young.  Rusty (no relation to Neil Young) wrote more than a dozen of the band’s most popular songs… songs like “Crazy Love,” “Call it Love,” and “Rose of Cimarron.”

On May 4th, Rusty Young will perform on the Leach Theatre stage with music, video, and a retrospective on his 50+ years in the music industry.  The performance will start at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are on sale in the box office at 573-341-4219 or online at leachtheatre.mst.edu.

Art Matters is a weekly column sponsored by Leach Theatre, a division of Student Affairs, on the campus of Missouri S&T, and produced by Emily Brickler, Managing Director of the theatre and ten-year veteran teacher with a Masters of Art in Teaching from Webster University.

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