Jim Messina (Buffalo Springfield, Poco, Loggins and Messina) at the Triple Door
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The last date listed for Jim Messina was Sunday August 1, 2010 / 7:30pm (Doors Open at 5:30pm).
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Few musical artists’ résumés list membership in a band inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame; fewer still can lay claim to being a founding member of the seminal band credited with creating country rock; and only one artist can include all the above in addition to being one half of the most successful duo of the 1970s. When chronicling the current commercial and critical success of artists like Keith Urban, Brooks & Dunn, and the pairing of Alison Krauss & Robert Plant for 2009’s Album Of The Year Raising Sand, it is not overstating things to say a direct line can be drawn back to Jim Messina’s legacy with Buffalo Springfield, Poco and Loggins & Messina; not to mention his own stellar solo career.
A supremely talented guitarist, Jim Messina began working with the legendary band Buffalo Springfield in 1966 as a recording engineer on their second album Buffalo Springfield Again. In 1967, at the request of the group and Atlantic Records founder and president Ahmet Ertegun, Messina was asked to produce the band’s third and final album Last Time Around. Shortly thereafter, he replaced Bruce Palmer, the bass player, touring and recording with the band up until completion and release of their swan song album, Last Time Around.
When Buffalo Springfield disbanded, Messina, in December of 1968, and fellow member Richie Furay joined forces to form Poco (originally named “Pogo” after the famous comic strip character). The band’s aptly titled 1969 debut Pickin’ Up The Pieces is the only debut album ever to receive a perfect rating from Rolling Stone magazine; the landmark album laid the blueprint for the then new musical genre uniting country with rock music and it blazed the pathway for future multi-million selling artists like the Eagles.
On the band’s self-titled second album, Poco (also released in 1969), Messina both produced and penned the band’s first single to reach the charts, "You Better Think Twice”, which has endured as one of the group’s signature songs. A copy of the Poco album now hangs in the Country Music Hall Of Fame in Nashville.
In November of 1970, Messina opened up his living room to record a number of compositions for a promising young songwriter named Kenny Loggins. With the songs Loggins presented leaning more toward folk (a style Messina felt could resign Loggins to the “past”), Messina suggested to Columbia Records president Clive Davis that he consider letting Messina “sit in” in much the same way that jazz artists had done in the past, and that Loggins incorporate more upbeat material into his album. Says Loggins: “Right from the beginning, Jimmy was the producer, I was the artist. I’d never made a record. I’d never put a band together. I’d never found a manager or an agent. So, Jimmy was the leader…” Leading the way as producer, arranger, vocalist, and guitarist, and contributing the signature songs “Listen To A Country Song,” “Nobody But You,” “Same Old Wine” and “Peace Of Mind” (from “Trilogy”), the album Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin’ In was released one year later in November of 1971 and an accidental duo was born.
In the next few years, a series of albums would follow in rapid order – 1972’s Loggins & Messina, 1973’s Full Sail, 1974’s double-live On Stage, the same year’s Mother Lode, 1975’s cover song set So Fine and 1976’s Native Sons. The Best of Friends greatest hits collection followed later that year and in 1977 another live album fittingly called Finale. When the dust had settled, Loggins & Messina had sold sixteen million albums, become one of rock’s biggest live draws, and cemented their legacy as one of the most successful recording duos ever.
Following the split, Messina recorded such critically acclaimed solo albums as 1979’s Oasis, 1981’s Messina and 1983’s One More Mile. In 1995, Messina traveled to Nashville to put together a band and recorded an album entitled Watching The River Run Revisited. Messina also reunited with Poco for the 1989 album entitled Legacy, as well as establishing the Songwriters’ Performance Workshop, whose purpose, explains Messina, “is to empower the amateurs to let go of the fear and embrace the joy of writing and performing their music.”
In 2004 Messina joined Loggins at a benefit at Santa Barbara’s Arlington Theater, and the nearly three decade gap was bridged in an instant. Says Loggins: “As soon as we hit the harmonies, I was struck by the fact that I hadn’t heard that sound in a long time,” he says. “It hit me like the Everly Brothers hit me the first time they got back together. There was something that in thirty years I had not been able to duplicate with anyone else. There was a spark that I’d completely forgotten about. It’s still there!"
That spark fueled a series of festive shows in 2005 with the duo playing their seminal songs that, says Messina “spoke to a generation, not just to a radio station.” The resulting sold-out nationwide tour culminated in the CD and DVD release Loggins & Messina Live – Sittin’ in Again at Santa Barbara Bowl. Messina also excavated, remastered and released a single-disc collection of the original master analog recordings that he had produced and mixed for the duo during their tenure at Columbia Records entitled The Best: Sittin’ in Again.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Messina’s next musical journey found him releasing the Latin-tinged EP Under a Mojito Moon: Part 1 in 2009 containing new Messina originals recorded on his Flamenco guitar with sounds reminiscent of Spain and Cuba.
Now, nearly 45 years after first stepping into the studio with Stephen Stills, Neil Young and Richie Furay to engineer Buffalo Springfield Again, Jim Messina is hitting the road with guitar in hand to tell the stories and sing the songs that made Buffalo Springfield, Poco, and Loggins & Messina iconic American groups.