Poco co-founder and multi-instrumentalist Rusty Young died on April 14th at age 75, suffering a heart attack in his home in Davisville, Missouri. Young, who is perhaps best known for writing and singing Poco's 1978 signature hit “Crazy Love,” was bandmates in the group over the years with such heavyweights art Richie Furay, Randy Meisner, Jim Messina, Paul Cotton, and Timothy B. Schmit.
Rusty Young — who finally released his first solo album, Waitin' For The Sun, in 2017 — led Poco until Covid forced the band off the road.
Close friend and bandmate Richie Furay posted on social media: “It's been a tough day; my friend Rusty Young passed away and we are heartbroken. Our friendship was 50 plus years; together we helped create what became known as the Southern California 'Country Rock' sound — believe me, we had a lot of fun and then some. Nancy and I are praying for Rusty's wife Mary and his children Sara and Will.”
Furay spoke about Rusty Young's musical legacy, telling Rolling Stone, “Rusty was one of the most innovative people on the pedal steel guitar. Nobody had ever heard a steel guitar run through a Leslie cabinet when we were doing it. We wanted to bring rock and country together, and that pedal steel gave us that rock & roll organ sound.”
When we last caught up with Rusty Young we asked him about what role the pedal steel guitar plays in his musical life: “I started playing when I was six-years-old in 1952, and to me, playing steel guitar is like breathing. I don't have to practice it. My technique is my technique, and I don't play it a lot anymore. I wanted to concentrate on other things. And I play banjo, and dobro, and mandolin, and pretty much anything with strings; and a lot of those need rehearsing.”