Rusty Young (musician)

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Young performing in 2007

Rusty Young (born Norman Russell Young on February 23, 1946, in Long Beach, California) is an American guitarist, vocalist and songwriter best known as one of the frontmen in the seminal country rock band Poco.

A virtuoso on pedal steel guitar, he is celebrated for the ability to get a Hammond B3 organ sound out of the instrument by playing it through a Leslie speaker cabinet.[1][2]

Early life

Rusty was raised in Colorado. He began playing lap steel guitar at age 6, and taught guitar and steel guitar lessons during his high school years. During that time, he also played country music in late night bars. Rusty played in a well known Denver psychedelic rock band "Boenzee Cryque".[3]


In the late 1960s, a former guitar student became the road manager for The Buffalo Springfield (Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Jim Messina, Richie Furay, Dewey Martin, and Bruce Palmer). The band was looking for a steel guitarist for the Furay ballad "Kind Woman" and Young was hired. Befriending Furay and Messina while playing and recording with their group, he became a founding member of Poco in 1968 upon Buffalo Springfield's demise. Bass player Randy Meisner and drummer George Grantham rounded out the original Poco lineup.[3]

Regarded as one of the seminal acts of its day, Poco joined Gram Parsons, The Byrds, and The Flying Burrito Brothers in pioneering the country rock sound. The band's membership fluctuated over the years. After founding guitarist Richie Furay left the group, Young took on more song writing responsibility, along with Paul Cotton and Timothy B. Schmit.

Poco members have been prolific songwriters, releasing more than 25 original albums. Young and Paul Cotton (guitar, vocals) have been the core of the band since 1971. The group continues to play and tour as of 2011. [4]