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    My Friend: A Tribute To Rusty Young

    My Friend: A Tribute To Rusty Young celebrates iconic songs from the late Poco co-founder, with new singles from Chelsea Williams, Cimarron 615 and Mustangs of the West out today

    “When we formed Blue Élan Records in 2014, Rusty was one of the first artists that I wanted to join our Blue Élan family.” – Kirk Pasich,Blue Élan Records founder

    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 DaytonJaniva MagnessChelsea WilliamsColin DevlinMustangs of the WestRoan Yellowthorn and Bob Gentry joined by Sam Morrow, the Orchid QuartetMary 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.

    Pre-order the new album here:

    The goal of the tribute album is to celebrate and highlight the amazing songwriting of American treasure, Rusty YoungPlans 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.”

    The first three singles are available today and feature Chelsea Williams on “Crazy Love,” “Rough Edges” from Cimarron 615 and Mustangs of the West on “Crooked Road.” 

    Labelmate Chelsea Williams describes working with Young, “Getting to work with Rusty Young has been a highlight of my life. Time spent with him was always such a meaningful and memorable experience. From recording with him at Cash Cabin to getting to play with him across the country with POCO, he always made me feel like I belonged. He treated me as an equal and that truly meant the world to me. It was an honor to cover his song Crazy Love. We did our best to honor the original while bringing in some modern touches but we’re careful not to go overboard. It’s one of those songs you just don’t want to mess with. Such a classic!”

    While colleague and Cimarron 615 band member Bill Lloyd remembers, “After meeting Rusty through Vince Gill back in 1989, Radney Foster and I jumped at the opportunity to co-write some songs with Rusty. The news that there would be a Poco reunion with Rusty, Richie, Jimmy, Randy and George was exciting. Rusty had the Rough Edges guitar riff already when we sat down to write and it all came together in short order. Really fun and rocking. I remember how pumped we were when he told us Randy Meisner would take the vocal on that.”

    Co-written by Young and Mustangs member Suzanna Spring in 1999, and then forgotten until Rusty's passing in 2021, the intro to “Crooked Road” features Rusty's voice from the original demo before kicking into the full recording. Spring recalls, “Six months after I learned that Rusty was gone, I was looking through my lyric sheets to submit some songs for the next Mustangs of the West record. A page of lyrics fell out of the pile in my hand. It was the lyric sheet for ‘Crooked Road,’ long forgotten and now unearthed. Love is, and Life is, a Crooked Road.”

    It was September 2017 when Youngwho 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.”