For 45 years, Poco has been making music in the realm of the classic country rock sound that they helped found in the late ‘60’s, one that inspired other acts to follow suit – bands such as The Eagles, Firefall, The Little River Band and Pure Prairie League. But to persist across six decades, you need to have a rabid fan base that considers your music to be a soundtrack to their lives, or continue to evolve and refine your sound while staying true to your roots. Poco does both and it’s why their new studio album — their first in eleven years — All Fired Up (official release date March 5), is a celebration of longevity and unparalleled songwriting.
Still led by singer and songwriter Rusty Young, the addition of two more excellent songwriters in bassist Jack Sundrud and keyboardist Michael Webb as well as drummer George Lawrence over the past decade, helped to re-shape Poco for another generation.
“The music has evolved over the years,” said Young. “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.”
All Fired Up, which was self-produced and recorded at several studios including Sixteen Tons in Nashville, the home studios of Sundrud and Webb, Wildwood Lodge in Missouri and Sound Emporium in Nashville, shows a band that has no problem celebrating its storied past while enjoying every minute of the present. And Young explains the diversity of the material that also manages to stay cohesive.
“Most of the songs were written in the last year or so,” he says. “It took me two years to get ‘Regret’ to the point I was happy with it and ’A Little Rain’ is a song 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 was 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. Michael (Webb) has Bobby Keys playing sax on one of his songs, ‘That’s What Rock ‘n Roll Will Do,’ which is very cool. Jack’s ‘Hard Country’ is destined to be a Poco classic. I’m especially excited about a song called ‘Rockin’ Horse’ for a couple of reasons. I think it’s unlike anything I’ve written before, and Poco IS a Rockin’ horse!”
There is also the tongue-in-cheek “Neil Young,” which talks about Rusty not being Neil’s brother. “I don’t think Neil has heard it yet,” Young joked. “I would hope he’d get a kick out of it and I wonder how many times people have asked him about his brother Rusty.”
Young is also celebrating his induction into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in St. Louis alongside other steel players that helped influence him. In addition, Young is in Guitar Player Magazine’s “Gallery of Greats” along with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughn. In addition Poco boasts a Grammy nomination for ‘Instrumental of the Year’ and fans can find the band’s memorabilia on display at the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Poco, which has never stopped touring over the years despite lineup changes, will tour a bit more vigorously in support of All Fired Up. “We’re anxious to show everyone that we’re excited about the future for Poco and we’re fired up and ready to go,” said Young. “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.”
Of course, it’s inevitable that the longer a band stays together, the more it often has to change in order to adapt and stick around—and also has to love what they do. That’s the takeaway from a poignant narrative written by Lawrence for the album. “There is no manual for a 45 year old rock band,” he said.
“Long time Poco fans will find plenty of nods to the earlier sound, while new-found fans will hear the new energy and direction,” said Sundrud. “All Fired Up is aptly titled, relevant to the band’s musical roots and blazing a new trail into the future. The songs are rocking, thought-provoking, fun and most of all, pure Poco.”
To sample the tracks from All Fired Up, please visit http://www.rickalter.com/afu.prerelease.html
For more information, please visit www.poconut.org
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