Pair Rusty Young with the greatest West Coast twangers who instilled an appreciation for country sounds in a generation of psychedelic rockers and who undoubtedly proved that country music can be cool. They first appeared in one of the last Buffalo Springfield casts and then became the linchpin of Poco for over 50 years. You can put Rusty Young's name in the exclusive pool of the likes of Gram Parsons and Clarence White as pioneers of country rock.
But maybe the soft music of Poco, which in later years drifted towards downright yacht rock, has little resonance with you. That is understandable. But what makes Rusty Young's contributions stand out even more is that he is behind the most confusing device known to music, and one of the most important instruments in the country: the steel guitar. As a virtuoso of the instrument and an innovator of the instrument in rock, it was his steelworks that paved the way for rock fans to find favor with country.
As you can probably guess from the high praise and past tense usage, Rusty Young is no longer with us and dies of a heart attack on Wednesday April 14th at the age of 75. Born in Norman Russell Young on February 23, 1946 in Long Beach, California, he returned to the West Coast to begin his career in earnest. However, he grew up in Denver, Colorado and first picked up the lap steel at the age of six, teaching others the instrument in high school and playing in both country and psychedelic bands.
It was an invitation from Buffalo Springfield's Richie Furay to play steel guitar on Last Time Around's final album, and especially the song "Kind Woman," which put Rusty Young in the middle of the emerging country rock scene in California. When Buffalo Springfield met Splitsville, Rusty Young formed Poco with Richie Furay, Jim Messina (later from Loggins & Messina), bassist Randy Meisner, later from The Eagles, and drummer George Grantham. Meisner was later replaced by Timothy B. Schmit, also from The Eagles. To call Poco a testing ground is a rich understatement. Paul Cotton and Kim Bullard would also play in the band.
Poco went through all kinds of line-up changes over the years and finally found success in the late 70s with a few big hits in "Crazy Love" and "The Heart of the Night" and surprised people again in the late 80s with "Call It Love." ". But the only constant in Poco was Rusty. "I made a promise to myself that Poco would only continue if we stayed a band of real musicians who were having fun," Rusty said in 2020. "Because the audience can tell the difference."
When many of the original members left, Rusty was also left to write many of the band's songs, which he did with their biggest hit, "Crazy Love," another of their early signature songs, "Rose of Cimarron," and many others Tracks of the band. Still, it was the variety of moods Rusty was able to evoke with the steel guitar, including loading the signal into one of those Leslie speakers with the spinning core that created the signature Poco sounds.
Rusty Young's steel guitar work was well recognized in American music and inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 2013. Despite officially retiring that same year, Rusty found it hard to stay on the pitch and continued to perform well after a 2014 farewell tour with members of Poco and later as a solo artist, releasing his solo debut Waitin & # 39 ; For The Sun in 2017.
Rusty Young is supported by his wife Mary, with whom he lived in Davisville, Missouri, and their daughter Sara, son Will, three grandchildren Chandler, Ryan and Graham and Mary's three children Joe, Marci and Hallie and grandchildren Quentin and survives Emma.