Rusty Young Shares Solo Tribute to His Poco Bandmates 'My Friend': Premiere

Henry Diltz
Rusty Young

Rusty Young takes stock of life both present and past on his first solo album, Waitin' For The Sun -- and that includes his long tenure with Poco on the track "My Friend," premiering exclusively below.

"That's about the band and 50 years and just talking to the guys that have been in that band," Young tells Billboard about the track, which features Poco alumni Richie Furay and Timothy B. Schmit on backing vocals. "It's just an overview of the whole thing, looking back on this last 50 years -- not just for me, but for all of us. The guys have all done really well. I don't think anybody has anything to complain about; Certainly I don't. So I wanted to write a song that wasn't just, 'We were Troubadour in '68/Wasn't it great?' I wrote it about the guys because we're still friends and we still do things together. We've been down a long road together, so I want to write about that."

It's been a long road to Waitin' For The Sun for Young, too. The singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who still leads the current incarnation of Poco, has been approached at various times as far back as the '70s to make a solo album. "I just didn't think I was ready, and I was so focused on keeping Poco together that I didn't do it," Young says. He was even "threatening to retire" when he was approached by Blue Elan Records last year following a show with another Poco mate, Jim Messina, in California. "I knew they had (America's) Gerry Beckley, who's a friend of mine, and also Jack Tempchin, so they're kind of my school," Young says. "I talked to the guys and they were really happy with the label and loved being there. So I thought, 'Y'know, this is pretty much the last time around for me' and I'd never done (a solo album). It's a great challenge to accept at this point in my life, and I wanted to know what I could do."

Waitin' For The Sun, due out Sept. 15, was produced by longtime Poco bassist Jack Sundrud and recorded at Cash Cabin in Nashville, where the group used June Carter Cash's upright piano and Young got to play Johnny Cash's 1957 Gibson Les Paul on the shimmering track "Gonna Let The Rain." The other members of Poco as well as Messina and George Grantham also appear on the set.

Young will be touring in support of the album, as well as continuing to play Poco shows -- with 50th anniversary celebration details to be announced soon. As for that "last time around" sentiment, however, Young acknowledges that Waitin' For The Sun may well be the start of something new for him. "I don't know yet; It's definitely the start of this project," he says with a laugh. "This album was a lot of work; It made me realize how difficult it is to be a solo artist, and there's a whole lot of work ahead of me. There's so much ahead I feel like I'm just starting this, so we'll see next year where things stand and what may lie ahead for me."