Rusty Young (musician)

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Young performing in 2007

Rusty Young (born Norman Russell Young on February 23, 1946, in Long Beach, California) is an American guitarist, vocalist and songwriter best known as one of the frontmen in the seminal country rock and Americana band Poco.

A virtuoso on pedal steel guitar, he is celebrated for the ability to get a Hammond B3 organ sound out of the instrument by playing it through a Leslie speaker cabinet and as an innovator of producing other rock sounds from the instrument.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Rusty was raised in Colorado. He began playing lap steel guitar at age 6, and taught guitar and steel guitar lessons during his high school years. During that time, he also played country music in late night bars. Rusty played in a well known Denver psychedelic rock band "Boenzee Cryque".[3]


In the late 1960s, a former guitar student became the road manager for Buffalo Springfield (Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Jim Messina, Richie Furay, Dewey Martin, and Bruce Palmer). The band was looking for a steel guitarist for the Furay ballad "Kind Woman" and Young was hired. Befriending Furay and Messina while playing and recording with their group, he became a founding member of Poco in 1968 upon Buffalo Springfield's demise. Bass player Randy Meisner and drummer George Grantham rounded out the original Poco lineup.[3]

Regarded as one of the seminal acts of its day[who?], Poco joined Gram Parsons, The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Pure Prairie League and The Eagles to develop the country rock sound. The band's membership fluctuated over the years. After founding guitarist Richie Furay left the group, Young took on more song writing responsibility, along with Paul Cotton and Timothy B. Schmit.

Poco members have been prolific songwriters, releasing more than 25 original albums. Poco, and Young in particular are considered forerunners of the American music genre[who?]. Young and Paul Cotton (guitar, vocals) were the core of the band from 1971 to 2009. The group continues to play and tour as of 2013, and released a studio album in 2013.

At the end of 2013 Rusty Young announced his retirement[citation needed]. A few shows were booked into 2014 including three farewell shows in Florida. One of those shows was a performance in a recording studio in front of a live audience for a DVD document of the band's live show[citation needed]. Young said there could be some one-offs in the future after that, but the band would not be actively touring as before[citation needed].

Young and Sundrud write and record music for children's story videos as the "Session Cats".[4] Young continues to do guest performances with former members of Poco and other country rock artists.



  1. ^
  2. ^ Gressel, Janine. "Poco Plays Pretty Music at Eagles, July 3, 1969". Seattle Times. 
  3. ^ a b Chadbourne, Eugene. Rusty Young biography at AllMusic. Retrieved November 25, 2011.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "In The Eagles' shadow". Retrieved 2008-05-18. [dead link]

External links[edit]