It’s hard to do this style of music and not seem mushy or cheesy, but Poco has managed to pull it off since 1968. Their brand of mellow country rock doesn’t really exist anymore.
For their latest, the self-produced All Fired Up, the band still sounds like the Poco of old, an amalgamation of Crosby Stills and Nash and the Eagles. Only vocalist/ guitarist Rusty Young is left out of founding band members Richie Furay ( Buffalo Springfield) and Jim Messina ( Buffalo Springfield Loggins and Messina.) Future Eagles Randy Meisner author of "Take It to the Limit" on One of These Nights,” and Timothy B. Schmidt, who wrote and was lead singer on Poco’s ’75 hit "Keep On Tryin'," were also members of the band for a short time .Young’s steel is still the defining element of the band, now consisting of multi-instrumentalist Michael Webb bassist Jack Sundrud and drummer George Lawrence.
The band sill sounds fresh, not a rehash, true to the past but not wallowing in it. “That’s What Rock and Roll Will Do” is one of the better looks back at their life choice by an aging band still addicted to rock and roll.
“Regret” is the song that the Eagles wish they could come up with these days and still sound as good as they did in their heyday. Young’s vocals and stunning guitar work should make this one a new classic for the group.
Even though it’s their first new studio release in 13 years, the band hasn’t been sitting around in semi retirement or plying oldies shows. They’ve been out on the road touring, constantly tweaking and refining much of the material presented here.
And they’ve got a sense of humor as well. “Neal Young” is almost as good a Young parody as Jimmy Fallon’s “Whip Your Hair.” In a perfect imitation of Neil Young‘s high pitched, trademark whine, Rusty Young insists that “Neil Young is not my brother/ we hardly know each other/the DNA is in /and he’s not my kin.”
The band says they intend to step up their touring to bring this music to a new generation and remind the old one that they still have a lot to offer. If this outing is any indication, there’ll be plenty to go around for both for a long time to come.