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Still Alive and Well

By Jeff Eason (eason@mountaintimes.com)



Article Published: Mar. 20, 2013 | Modified: May. 17, 2013
Still Alive and Well


In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Southern California was an incubator for the newborn genre of music known as country rock.

The Eagles, Buffalo Springfield, The Flying Burrito Brothers and other bands from the area were infusing their rock and roll with a heaping helping of twang to critical and popular acclaim.

One of those country rock bands that never quite hit the big-time on the Billboard charts was Poco.

From the ashes of the recently broken up Buffalo Springfield, Richie Furay and Jim Messina formed Poco in 1969. While the band had a number of songs dent the fringes of the charts (“Crazy Love,” “Heart of the Night,” “Good Feeling to Know”), it was the live shows that earned it a legion of diehard fans, known affectionately by the band as “Poconuts.”

For the first time in more than a decade, Poco, led by original member Rusty Young, has released a studio album. “All Fired Up” features the band’s signature mix of boot-stompin’ country rock dance numbers and smooth ballads, all accentuated with some of the best picking and playing around.

Of course, a band that has experienced as many lineup changes as Poco has will have a sound that changes over time.

“The music has evolved over the years,” Young said. “Different band members bring different voices to the sound and, in many ways, keep the music fresh. History shows that Poco has always had great musicians in the band, and it’s no different today. We’re growing musically, challenging ourselves and moving ahead to create the best music we’ve ever made.”

Joining Young in the latest incarnation of Poco is Jack Sundrud on vocals, bass, acoustic and electric guitars and harmonica, George Lawrence on drums and congas, and Michael Webb on vocals, piano, Hammond B-3, accordion, acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, bass and clavinet.

Special guests on “All Fired Up” include George Grantham on percussion and Bobby Keys on saxophone.

Of all of the instruments that Young plays, it is the pedal steel guitar that gives the new Poco its timeless, signature sound.

“All Fired Up” has the feel of an album that has been years in the making, with each song carefully polished to its finished state. The soaring “Regret” and the driving “A Little Rain” both feel like country rock classics the first time you hear them.

“Most of the songs were written in the last year or so,” Young said. “It took me two years to get ‘Regret’ to the point I was happy with it, and ‘A Little Rain’ is a song that we’ve been doing in concert for the last three years.

“Jack’s ‘Hard Country’ is a concert favorite we’ve been playing for a number of years, too. The title track’s a song that was written just for the CD. We wanted to give a nod to the classic Poco sound that everyone loves from the early days, and we think ‘All Fired Up’ nails it.”

Now approaching its 45th year in existence, Poco is getting ready to hit the road again in support of the new album.

“We’re anxious to show everyone that we’re excited about the future for Poco, and we’re fired up and ready to go,” Young said. “We’re hoping to reintroduce Poco to the fans that may have drifted away over the years and to remind them of why they were fans in the first place. And it would, of course, be great if the CD captures new fans. We’re always trying to attract new Poconuts. There is no manual for a 45-year-old rock band.”

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