Jim Messina (musician)

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Jim Messina
JimMessina(by Scott Dudelson).jpg
Jim Messina
Background information
Birth name James Melvin Messina
Born (1947-12-05) December 5, 1947 (age 67)
Genres Country rock, folk rock, Latin rock, soft rock, jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, record producer
Instruments Guitar, mandolin, dobro, vocals
Years active 1964–present
Associated acts Jim Messina and His Jesters
Buffalo Springfield
Loggins and Messina
Website jimmessina.com

James Melvin "Jim" Messina (born December 5, 1947) is an American musician, songwriter, singer, guitarist, recording engineer and record producer. He was a member of folk rock group Buffalo Springfield, a founding member of country rock pioneer Poco, and half of the soft rock duo Loggins and Messina with Kenny Loggins.[1]

Early life[edit]

James Messina was born in Maywood, California in 1947, and raised in Harlingen, Texas until he was eight. He spent much of his childhood split between his father's home in California and his mother's home in Texas. His father was a guitarist and greatly influenced his son's musical career. Messina began playing the guitar at the age of five. He later became interested in the music of Elvis Presley and Ricky Nelson.


Jim Messina and His Jesters[edit]

When he was 16 years old, he recorded an LP with "His Jesters" titled "The Dragsters", which was released in November 1964. He played lead guitar on the "The Jester", which was a track on the album. "The Jester" was re-released on the CD Lost Legends of Surf Guitar Volume 1.

Buffalo Springfield[edit]

While with Buffalo Springfield Messina served as a recording engineer, producer, and musician, replacing bass player Bruce Palmer on two songs from their final album, Last Time Around.


After Buffalo Springfield disbanded, Messina and Richie Furay, a founding member of Buffalo Springfield, formed Poco in 1968. Switching back from bass to guitar, Messina played lead guitar and supplied vocals and some songwriting to the band. After recording two studio albums and one live album, he left Poco due to exhaustion from touring and to focus on becoming a record producer.

Loggins and Messina[edit]

After Poco, Messina signed a contract with Columbia Records, as an independent producer. Messina was first introduced to the idea of producing Kenny Loggins in the summer of 1970 while still performing on the road with Poco. Loggins first met with Messina in December 1970 at Messina's home, where the two recorded a number of Loggins' compositions in Messina's living room. Loggins, at the time, was a songwriter for ABC Dunhill and not a performing artist. The songs he presented for his album leaned more toward being a folk artist, a style Messina felt might anchor Loggins in a past trend as opposed to being a part of a future trend.

In the course of deciding how to produce Loggins' first solo album, Messina met with Clive Davis, then president of Columbia Records. The inexperienced Loggins had no agent, no manager, no business manager, and no prior experience as a performing artist; Messina felt Loggins needed some kind of an edge.

Messina proposed to Davis that he be allowed to sit in with Loggins' on his first solo album in the same way that jazz artists had done in the past. Loggins also needed more upbeat and diverse material to help him gain appeal as a pop music artist. After reluctantly agreeing, Clive pursued the "Sitting In" concept through to the end.

With music trends moving away from folk, Messina presented Loggins with a number of songs that spilled over from his days with Poco and Buffalo Springfield. He felt Loggins could do both country rock and R&B styles extremely well, especially after hearing Kenny perform "Danny's Song."

Among the material Messina contributed was "Listen to a Country Song" (a hit single by Lynn Anderson), "Nobody But You," "Same Old Wine," and "The Trilogy," which included "Peace of Mind." He provided the rehearsal space, amps and instruments and lent his talents as an arranger, vocalist, and guitarist. Messina worked long hours with Loggins and encouraged him to purchase an electric guitar and play it on his solo debut album.

Messina assembled "The Kenny Loggins Band" by summoning old friends drummer Merel Bregante and bassist/singer Larry Sims (both formally of the Sunshine Company), multireedist/violinist Al Garth, multireedist Jon Clarke (performing with the Don Ellis Jazz Band), and a friend of Loggins, keyboardist Michael Omartian, who played on the album but dropped out once the touring began - however, he played on the next two albums and the ensemble was also augmented on each of their studio releases by Los Angeles-based session percussionist Milt Holland.

Originally intended to be Kenny Loggins' first solo Album, the two decided that Messina's contribution was so substantial that the album was finally released as "Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina” “Sittin' In". It made its debut in November 1971. Messina had been reluctant to perform and tour, having begun the collaboration with the sole interest of producing. Nonetheless, by the end of 1976, the group, now renamed "Loggins and Messina," had toured extensively and sold over 20 million albums.

After the release of "Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin' In", Messina went on to write, perform and produce seven more albums with Loggins. Those albums were: "Loggins and Messina" "Full Sail" "On Stage" "Mother Lode" "So Fine" (a covers album), "Native Sons" (their last studio release) and "Finale" (released by Columbia after the duo's split).

Loggins ultimately decided to strike out on his own, and in 1976 the duo split after a final concert in Hawaii. Both went on to solo careers.


In 1979, Messina met with Don Ellis of Columbia Records subsidiary A&R to plan his first solo album. He learned Ellis did not like Messina's new musical direction, towards Latin jazz with a Rock edge, because it did not sound like a Loggins and Messina album. Messina toured to support the debut LP, which sold 150,000 copies, about the same sales as "Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina "Sittin' In". However, without the support of the record company the album stalled and Messina asked Columbia Records president Bruce Lundvall for a release from the label.

In 1981, Messina signed with Warner Bros. Records and recorded and released his second solo effort, "Messina". A collection of songs that ranged in genre from Folk to Rock, to Latin and light Jazz. Pauline Wilson was the featured artist and sang a duet with Messina on, "Stay the Night".

In 1986 Jim Messina released his third solo album on Warner Bros. Records entitled, "One More Mile". The album leaned more toward rock and Messina used a number of the young and upcoming studio musicians as his rhythm section. It featured Edie Laymen and Pauline Wilson singing background and harmony parts. Jim's influence and love for the Hawaiian people is most apparent on the song, "The Island" on which he shows his influence of Slack Key, a Hawaiian style of playing the guitar.

Reunion tours[edit]

In 1989, Messina joined in with Poco's original lineup (consisting of Jim Messina, Richie Furay, Rusty Young, George Grantham and Randy Meisner) for a successful reunion tour. The group released the album entitled, "Legacy." Messina played guitar and mandolin on the album and wrote or co-wrote four of the songs. Those songs he wrote and sang on were, "Follow Your Dreams," "Look Within," and "Lovin' You Every Minute." The song Messina co-wrote was "Call It Love," wherein Rusty Young sang the lead vocal on that song.

In 2005, Messina joined Loggins and together they hit the road as a duo again. The result was a successful nationwide tour that produced a CD and DVD entitled "Loggins and Messina" Live - Sittin' in Again, at The Santa Barbara Bowl."

Messina also pulled from the vaults the original master analog recordings that he had produced and mixed for L&M at Columbia Records and together the duo released the digitally mastered album entitled, "The Best: Sittin' in Again." The duo reformed again in 2009 for an extensive tour.


In 2009, Messina released the CD entitled "Under a Mojito Moon-Part 1", containing works recorded wherein the only guitar he played was his Flamenco guitar. The Latin based arrangements feature trumpet, percussion, drums, piano and nylon acoustic guitar in melodies reminiscent of the music of Cuba and Spain. More information on this album can be viewed at: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/messinajim3

In 2012 Messina released the CD and DVD entitled "Jim Messina LIVE at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts" containing works he performed on from The Buffalo Springfield, Poco, Loggins & Messina and as a Solo Artist. The album is diverse in that it starts off acoustically with Messina's folk and country music genre, then to his Country Rock and Rock influences, ending in his high energy Latin and Jazz musical works. More information on this album can be viewed at: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jimmessina1

Messina continues to tour and make records as a solo artist. In addition, he dabbles in the fine arts as a painter working both in watercolor and acrylics. Messina is a carpenter who enjoys building "Cowboy" furniture and old distressed Scottish and Irish style of pine furniture. Messina also works in metal and enjoys the art of welding metals. He continues to work in the field of electronics both as a studio owner and recording and mixing engineer.

He is the creator and owner of "The Songwriters' Performance Workshop" wherein he leads 6-day intensive workshops for songwriters and singers at retreats, resorts and hotels around the country. information can be viewed at: http://www.songwritersperformanceworkshop.com/

Personal life and family[edit]

In 1970, Messina married actress Jenny Sullivan; it ended in divorce after ten years and with no children. Messina has two children: Julian, from a former relationship, and Josey Messina, his daughter with his second wife Michaela Laza Messina. His son, Julian, is a recording engineer and a musician playing drums since he was four years old. Messina's wife, Michaela, is an opera singer and a music teacher, who holds a masters degree in education. Messina currently resides in Santa Ynez, California.


Jim Messina and His Jesters[edit]

  • The Dragsters (1964)

Buffalo Springfield[edit]


Loggins and Messina[edit]

Jim Messina[edit]

  • Oasis (1979)
  • Messina (1981)
  • One More Mile (1983)
  • Watching The River Run (1996)
  • Watching The River Run (Revisited) (2005)
  • Under a Mojito Moon Part-1 (2009)
  • "Live" at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts (2012)


  1. ^ Summers, Kim; Eder, Bruce. "Biography: Jim Messina". Allmusic. Retrieved 6 June 2010. 

jim messina discography includes before the buffalo Springfield recordings jim messina and the jesters with one album entitled the dragsters from 1964 on the audio fidelity record label, an instrumental surf hot rod album, and one or two 45's references are at www.reverbcentral.com and in many surf music books

External links[edit]