Rusty Young has seen a lot during his 45 years as a founding member of Poco, one of the leading bands in the country-rock movement of the early 1970s. He's had his share of hit songs and disappointments and watched as former bandmates went on to bigger things.
As Poco tours to promote its latest album, "All Fired Up," Young can look back on all of the ups and downs of a life spent making music and take them all as "a great learning experience for me.
"When I started in this band, all I did was play steel guitar and banjo and stuff like that," Young said during a recent phone interview from his home in Missouri. "As it turns out, I learned how to write songs and sing, and the one big million-selling hit (1979's "Crazy Love") we ever had in Poco -- with all of the great songwriters that have been here -- was a song I wrote and sang.
"So it's been a long journey for me and I wouldn't change anything."
Some of the songwriters Young was referring to included Randy Meisner, who went on to form The Eagles; Jim Messina, of Loggins and Messina fame; Richie Furay, formerly of Buffalo Springfield; and Timothy B. Schmit, who replaced Meisner in Poco before doing it again for The Eagles.
"We've had great people in our band and some of them have gone on to do other great things -- like The Eagles and Loggins and Messina," said Young, who will bring Poco to StageOne at the Fairfield Theatre Company Sunday night, April 28. "It's been a great platform for everybody that's come through our band."
One of Young's biggest regrets is that "Legacy," a 1989 reunion album featuring members of the original Poco lineup -- Young, Messina, Furay and Meisner -- didn't get the recognition he felt it deserved.
"That should have been something that was recognized as historic," Young said. "It went gold, but it still was really overlooked in the scheme of American rock music history. It's an important record."
Young is very pleased with "All Fired Up," which was released March 5 and is the group's first album of new material in more than 10 years.
The impetus for the new disc was a change in the lineup, which altered the group's sound enough that he wanted to get it on record.
"You reach a certain point where you kind of wonder what's the purpose of putting out another CD. They're expensive, they take a lot of time and work, and we're not going to compete with Katy Perry for radio time or anything like that. At a certain point, you get realistic about where the band's career is at.
"But we replaced our guitar player with a keyboard player (Michael Webb), which gives the band a different tone, and we wanted to document this version of Poco. This one needed to have a history that we could add to the legacy of Poco."