(CelebrityAccess) — Norman Russell “Rusty” Young, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and co-founder of the country-rock band Poco, died after suffering a heart attack on April 14th. He was 75.
His passing was confirmed by a statement from his record label Blue Élan Records:
“It is with great sadness that we confirm the passing of Poco co-founder, Rusty Young, at the age of 75. Young suffered a heart attack last night. A beloved member of the Blue Élan Records family, Young was best known as the heart and soul of Poco – the band widely considered to be one of the founders of the classic Southern California country rock sound. Young was an integral member of the band throughout their influential six decade career. ”
Born in Long Beach, California, but raised in Colorado, Young took to music at an early age, teaching himself the guitar and steel guitar while he was still in his teens and began performing with local bands, including the n Denver psychedelic rock group Boenzee Cryque.
In 1967, he signed on as the road manager for Buffalo Springfield and when they needed a steel guitarist for a ballad on what would be their final album “Last Time Around”, Young was hired for the role.
After the dissolution of Buffalo Springfield, Young teamed up with Richie Furay, George Grantham and Jim Messina to form the country-rock group Poco.
Over the next 5 decades, the group would help to define the sound of California country rock, with Young writing and providing vocals for many of the group’s hits such as “Rose Of Cimarron” and “Crazy Love.”
In 2013, Young announced his retirement, but it didn’t take and he was soon back out on the road again, touring with Poco right up until the live music industry went on hold for the pandemic in 2020.
According to his label, as the sole remaining founder of Poco, Young is the only group member to have played at every single live concert and on every Poco recording since the band’s inception in 1968.
In 2017, Young recorded his first and only solo album, “Waitin’ For The Sun” on Blue Élan Records.
“I had been offered solo deals back in the ‘70s, but always felt Poco was more important. But I feel I’m now the best I’ve ever been as a singer and songwriter, and I have a better grasp of the music than ever before. And I realized that this was the perfect time to do something that could be a really rewarding part of my legacy,” he told the label.
In 2013, Young was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame.
“I’ve been fortunate to have had a magical career,” Young said last year. “From the moment I was called to play on the Buffalo Springfield album, all through Poco, and now through my solo projects, things have just fallen into place. I’ve worked really hard to be the best I can be, and I think my music is the proof,” Young said in an obituary published by Blue Élan.
Young is survived by his wife, a daughter, a son, and three grandchildren. Plans for a memorial for Young are pending.