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Songwriter's career with Poco spans generations

Songwriter's career with Poco spans generations

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If you think a woman inspired the song "Crazy Love," released on Poco's 1978 album "Legend," you'd be wrong.

It took Rusty Young, one of Poco's founding members, 20 minutes to write "Crazy Love" when he was living in Los Angeles.

"I was paneling a wall and looking out over the valley in L.A. and the chorus came into my head," Young said in a telephone interview Thursday. "I told the (other Poco members) don't worry about the 'Ooh, ooh, Ahhhh haaa' part, I can find words for that. And they said, 'Don't do that, that's the way it's supposed to be.'"

First with Buffalo Springfield, then with Poco, Young has performed with some of the most notable musicians in rock 'n' roll history. Formed in 1968, Poco's original lineup included Young, Jim Messina, Richie Furay and Randy Meisner. Bassist Timothy B. Schmit joined in 1969. Schmit and Meisner left Poco to play with the Eagles.

Young said the band has had 12 members since its inception. Along with writing much of the band's music, the diverse Young sings, plays pedal steel guitar, banjo, Dobro, guitar and mandolin. Jack Sundrud has played bass for Poco since 1985, drummer George Lawrence joined in 2007, and Michael Webb has been the band's keyboard player for two years.

"That's what's fun about the band now," said Young, who lives in Steelville, Mo., with his wife, Mary. "One of the reasons I enjoy being in the band is we have great musicians and it's inspiring every time we play. After the shows we do a meet-and-greet, and the people who come to our shows always say how blown away they are by the music."

Poco is scheduled to perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday during Celebrate St. Peters in 370 Lakeside Park. The festival's entertainment includes several bands of varying music genres.

Young said Poco is used to playing before fans in St. Charles County. The band occasionally performs at Ameristar Casino.

After Poco's set and a fireworks display, Pure Prairie League is scheduled to start jamming at 9:30 p.m. as the last music act of this year's Celebrate St. Peters. Pure Prairie League has been making music almost as long as Poco, having released its first album, "Bustin' Out," in 1972. The song "Amie" was the top single off that album.

Young said Poco and Pure Prairie League have toured together for years and have the same manager.

"We're great friends," Young said. "We're both from the same era, but we're different bands. They're great at what they do and have a great steel guitar player in John Call. We're worlds apart as far as the sound goes."

Young scoffs at the notion that Poco's music has sometimes been labeled as country rock or Southern rock.

"The early days they'd call it country rock," Young said. "These days there's no such thing as country rock. County music is country rock. It's just rock 'n' roll."

After performing in St. Peters, Poco will travel to Albuquerque for a Sept. 18 appearance at the New Mexico State Fair. Young said the band usually plays 40 dates a year. Fewer road trips allow Young to spend more time at his Missouri cabin. That suits Young, who married Mary in 2004. The couple met at the Wildwood Springs Lodge in Steelville.

Each year Poco and bands such as the Ozark Mountain Daredevils perform in a quaint hall at the lodge Young said it's a chance for fans to get up close with band members. The other members of Poco live in Nashville, Young said.

Which songs Poco performs depends on how long the band gets to play. It has different set lists for hour-long shows, 90-minute shows and shows longer than two hours. Young said he hopes the band can play a couple hours Saturday.

"No one ever leaves disappointed," he said.

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