Rusty Young by his own assessment, was born to play music.
With half a century of performing, recording and touring with his band Poco, which he co-founded in 1968 with Jim Messina, Richie Furay, Randy Meisner and George Grantham, he’s made good use of his gift.
Poco is recognized as a pioneer in West Coast country rock, a genre that has influenced musicians for decades.
Carson City welcomes Poco as they headline the 11th annual Concert Under the Stars — a benefit for The Greenhouse Project —July 10 at Eagle Valley Golf Course. Poco is joined by Pure Prairie League and Firefall, bands they’ve toured with frequently through the years.
Young began playing at age 6 in church, the embodiment of his grandparents’ musical talent — his grandfather a big band musician and his grandmother who played piano in movie theaters, providing the soundtrack for silent films.
“It skipped a generation, as my dad was an electrician,” Young said, noting that unlike other parents, his were supportive of his desire to pursue his passion.
Much of the genre’s early music scene was occurring in Colorado where he was raised — a community of musicians simply creating and having fun. The scene shifted to Los Angeles in the late 1960s. The close sense of community dissipated but those friends — Joe Walsh, Jackson Browne, Don Henley and others — went on to create a music catalog that still defines American rock.
“It was a great time, a bunch of friends hanging out and playing music,” Young said. “I’d never thought day-to-day about how we were doing things or about becoming famous; we just loved what we were doing and the rest grew from that.”
Over the course of 50 years, Young has seen every aspect of the industry’s evolution, experienced its fickleness and had many hits, among them “Rose of Cimarron,” “Heart of the Night,” and “Crazy Love.”
Known as a virtuoso of the lap steel guitar, Young was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 2013, and in 2017 released his first solo album on Blue Elan Records. A new single, “Listen to Your Heart,” is available on Blue Elan Records as a download with all proceeds supporting Carlos Santana’s animal charity, Hope for Paws.
Poco’s current lineup features Young on pedal steel guitar, dobro, mandolin, guitar and vocals; Jack Sundrud on guitar, bass and vocals; Lex Browning on fiddle, guitar and vocals; and Rick Lonow on drums and percussion.
“To think it all started with four guys at the Troubadour that grew out of Buffalo Springfield and gave (the world) Loggins & Messina and the Eagles, is probably the thing I am most proud of … that Poco is a unique band in the history of American music,” Young said.
Poco’s longevity and relevance is a testament to the strength of its music.
“I will keep doing this as long as I can climb on a plane,” said Young, who at 73 shows no signs of stopping, and interestingly is the only band member to make every show since 1968. “All I’ve ever done is play music … and when I’m gone my legacy will be the music and the impact it has had on peoples’ lives across generations. It’s a blessing.”
Limited Table on the Green tickets, which include preferred parking and dinner by Blend Catering, as well as limited sponsorship tents, are available by calling The Greenhouse Project President Karen Abowd at 775-232-8626. All other tickets are available at www.carsoncitygreenhouse.org.
Gold Circle tickets at $75 include preferred parking and expedited entry. Reserved tickets are $49 and Standing Room tickets, $30. Feel free to bring a blanket to enjoy lawn seating; no folding chairs or outside beverages are allowed.