Poco brings storied past to Waterfront

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11255103242586.jpg’, ‘Photo provided’, ‘Poco is set to take the WTVO Oasis Stage at On the Waterfront from 10 to 11:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 3, with special guest Richie Furay.’);

Legendary country rockers Poco take OTW stage Sept. 3 with special guest Richie Furay

Through the years, many members have come, gone and come again, but the intensity of country rock band Poco hasn’t changed a bit.

Poco, initially called Pogo, formed in 1967 by Rusty Young (electric, acoustic and steel guitar, lap steel, banjo, dobro and mandolin) when he recruited Richie Furay (guitar) and Jim Messina (guitar), both Buffalo Springfield members, to join his band.

In 1970, Messina was replaced by Paul Cotton, who would be one of the longest- lasting members besides the band’s founder, Young.

Poco’s original bassist, Randy Meisner, would later go on to be one of the founding members of the Eagles. Meisner left the band in 1969, and Timothy B. Schmit (bass) took his place.

Drummer George Grantham was recommended by Young and was added to the lineup. Unfortunately, Grantham, along with Schmit, left the band in 1977.

Replacing the drum and bass positions in 1977 was Stephen Chapman (drums) and Charlie Harrison (bass). Kim Bullard was also added to play the keyboard.

By the mid-1980s, Chapman, Harrison and Bullard had already left the band and were replaced in a few years by Tim Smith (drums) and Richard Neville (bass).

The last major member change occurred in 2000 when original drummer Grantham returned to replace Smith and Jack Sundrud, who has frequently played with Poco since 1985, joined the band to replace Neville.

In 2004, Grantham had to take some time off from the band for medical reasons; George Lawerence is currently playing drums for Poco.

Poco’s current lineup consists of founding member Young, guitarist Cotton, drummer Lawerence and bassist Jack Sundrud.

“People come and go in all bands,” Young said. “It can be a good thing because when someone leaves, it gives someone else a chance to grow.”

Even with all the member changes, Poco has more than 20 albums that sold millions, and have had many singles in the Top 20.

Poco’s first album, Pickin’ Up the Pieces, was released in 1969 and still remains influential to current and upcoming country rock musicians.

Their first No. 1 hit, “Crazy Love,” released in 1978, was on the band’s multi-platinum album, Legend. In 1989, Legacy was created and released as a reunion album featuring the original 1968 quintet.

Poco’s most recent album releases include Running Horse, which features a tapestry of new songs, and Keep the Legend Alive, a live CD and bonus DVD recorded at Nashville’s Belcourt Theatre in 2004.

This September, they will release their first unplugged live album, titled Bareback at Big Sky. This album will include a variety of well-known tunes, never before recorded hits and a few new songs.

“None of these songs have ever been recorded in this unplugged format,” Cotton said. “This meant making a few changes.”

Bareback at Big Sky is set to release in stores Sept. 20. It can also be ordered early at Poco’s Web site, www.poconut.com.

In three decades, the band has performed in stadiums, arenas, clubs, casinos and fairs throughout America, Europe and Japan.

Poco has been touring ever since they started playing, except for a short time in the 1980s. But the band continues to play more and more shows every year.

“We’re having so much fun,” Young said about doing the tour this year.

Young said his experience with Poco shows brings fans who have grown up with their music and who have certain memories embedded in their songs.

“Some people got married to our music,” Young said. “They get to experience all the songs they have heard their whole lives.”

Fans will also have a chance to hear what the band is doing now and make some new memories.

Poco, with special guest Richie Furay, will be performing at the WTVO Oasis Stage at On the Waterfront from 10 to 11:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 3. Info: 964-4388 or visit www.onthewaterfront.com.

From the Aug. 31-Sept. 6, 2005, issue

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