Review; The Heart of the Night Relived at Last

Poco/One Night In Nashville/Purple Pyramid
4.5 Out of Five Stars

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Suffice it to say, absolute appreciation for Poco is long overdue. The recent passing of core members Rusty Young and Paul Cotton may have accelerated some interest, but the fact remains that their critical contribution to the core of Americana music overall has long been regarded as merely a footnote in the genre’s trajectory and tale of how it came of age. Yet given the fact that they, along with the Flying Burrito Brothers, the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Dillards, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, literally helped shape that style seems to suggest that in the larger scheme of things, their overall role has been negated to an inexcusable extent.

A recent release, My Friend: A Tribute to Rusty Young, a covers compilation with contributions from Young’s various admirers—among them, Jesse Dayton, Tom Hampton (Poco), Bill Lloyd (Foster & Lloyd, Sky Kings), Rick Lonow (Flying Burrito Brothers, Poco), Jack Sundrud (Great Plains, Poco) and Michael Webb (Poco), might help remedy that unfortunate situation, but more to the point, a belated live offering, One Night In Nashville, provides an actual opportunity to revisit the songs that made this band so worthy of iconic stature. 

The concert, that took place on May 20, 2004 at Nashville’s Belmont Theatre, resulted in a rare reunion of seminal members Richie Furay, George Grantham and Rusty Young, along with later recruits Paul Cotton and Jack Sundred. It was, needless to say, a remarkable evening, one which found them including such classics as “Pickin’ Up the Pieces,” “Bad Weather,” “You Better Think Twice,” “Rose of Cimarron,” “Heart of the Night,” and a number of other songs that remain an essential part of Poco’s lingering legacy. The performances are, as expected, first rate, and the pick-up players—keyboardist Tony Harrell and saxophonist Phil Kensie—ensure the arrangements remain on par with the sound shared in the original studio renditions.

That said, the excitement and enthusiasm of the participants themselves are apparent, adding an extra depth to the proceedings. It was, after all, an auspicious affair. That makes One Night In Nashville an essential acquisition for devotees as well as anyone who needs either an immediate overview or introduction. This was, in fact, a truly enchanted evening.

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