Janiva Magness releases "If Your Heart Needs A Hand" to honor the legacy of Rusty Young
I first met Rusty in 2017 when we were recording my Love is An Army CD for Blue Élan.
What impressed me so deeply in that initial meeting was his kindness, humility, depth and passion. An exceptional musician and songwriter who was very much an authentically beautiful person. That first impression proved to be a totally accurate reading not only of his songwriting and music, but of the man himself. Then we traded off a few times, as label mates often do, he played on my Change In The Weather record, and in 2019, he and I sang a duet on "Harmony," his record early in 2020.
So by the time of his passing in 2021, I understood that this was not only a massive loss for his loved ones, but for the world of music. Being asked to sing for a tribute recording is a huge honor and frankly nerve wracking. I had to choose a song - then try to sing it and do it justice! While digging into his volume of work, I instantly knew "When Your Heart Needs A Hand" to be the right song for me, it totally fit the bill. Kinda like Cinderella finding that lost glass slipper in a way. I felt the lyric and intention of the song truly reflected who Rusty was, a brilliant craftsman and kind, compassionate man.
It is a true gift of this life to have crossed paths with Rusty. I hope you feel the power of this magical song the way that I do! I believe we live on in the music, because the music lives on!
Listen to the song here: https://blueelan.lnk.to/ifyourheart
The songs of Rusty Young, the late co-founder of the Grammy®-nominated country rock band Poco, are being celebrated and released on March 25, 2022 via Blue Élan Records. Label artists contributing to the album include Jesse Dayton, Janiva Magness, Chelsea Williams, Colin Devlin, Mustangs of the West, Roan Yellowthorn and Bob Gentry joined by Sam Morrow, the Orchid Quartet, Mary Scholz and Taylor John Williams along with the newly formed Cimarron 615 featuring Tom Hampton (Poco), Bill Lloyd (Foster & Lloyd, Sky Kings), Rick Lonow (Flying Burrito Brothers, Poco), Jack Sundrud (Great Plains, Poco) and Michael Webb (Poco). A portion of the proceeds from this release will be donated in Rusty Young’s honor to Rusty’s Rescue Pets c/o Community Foundation of the Ozarks.
The goal of the tribute album is to celebrate and highlight the amazing songwriting of American treasure, Rusty Young. Plans for a tribute album were already underway before Young suddenly passed away on April 14, 2021. Unfortunately, Young was never able to hear the renditions of his iconic songs that were recorded by this talented group of artists; however, the label is sure that Young would have approved. As Kirk Pasich, Blue Élan founder and the album’s producer comments in the album's liner notes, “Beginning in 2017, Rusty was, in many ways, the heart and soul of our label.”
Pasich goes on to explain the album process, “In putting this album together, we didn’t try to duplicate what Rusty did—the originals of those songs that he and Poco recorded will always be among my favorites and we saw no reason to clone them. Instead, we asked artists to pick the songs of Rusty’s that they’d like to record and to make them their own.”
It was September 2017 when Young, who had intended to retire from the road, decided “that this was the perfect time to do something that could be a really rewarding part of my legacy.” His first and only solo album, Waitin’ For The Sun, came after a five-decade long career that began in 1967 when Young was invited to play steel guitar on what would become the final album by Buffalo Springfield. Soon after, Rusty, Richie Furay, George Grantham, Randy Meisner, and Jim Messina formed beloved Americana band Poco. Over the next half century – and alongside bandmates that would also include Paul Cotton, Rick Lonow, Timothy B. Schmit, and Jack Sundrud – he became not only the musical core of the band, but also the writer and/or vocalist behind such Poco hits as, “Call It Love,” “Rose of Cimarron” and the #1 smash “Crazy Love.”