Few musical artists résumés list membership in a band inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; fewer still can lay claim to being a founding member of the seminal band credited with creating Country Rock; and only one artist can include all the above in addition to being one half of the most successful duos of the 1970s.
A supremely talented guitarist, Jim Messina began working with the legendary band Buffalo Springfield in 1966 as a recording engineer on their second album Buffalo Springfield Again. In 1967, at the request of the group and Atlantic Records founder and president Ahmet Ertegun, Messina was asked to produce the band’s third and final album. Shortly thereafter, he replaced Bruce Palmer, the bass player, touring and recording with the band up until completion and release of their album Last Time Around.
In 1968, when Buffalo Springfield disbanded, Messina signed a contract with Epic Records as a producer and a recording artist. Along with fellow Buffalo Springfield member Richie Furay, he formed Poco (originally named “Pogo” after the famous comic strip character). The band’s aptly titled 1969 debut Pickin’ Up The Pieces is the only debut album ever to receive a perfect rating from Rolling Stone magazine; the landmark album laid the blueprint for the then new musical genre uniting country with rock music and it blazed the pathway for future multi-million selling artists like the Eagles.
In November of 1970, Messina opened up his living room to record a number of compositions for a promising young songwriter named Kenny Loggins. With the songs Loggins presented leaning more toward folk (a style Messina felt could resign Loggins to the “past”), Messina suggested to Columbia Records president Clive Davis that he consider letting Messina “sit in” in much the same way that jazz artists had done in the past, and that Loggins incorporate more upbeat material into his album.
Following the split with Loggins, Messina recorded four critically acclaimed solo albums: 1979’s sublime Latin rock with a touch of jazz album Oasis; 1981’s eponymous Messina featuring guest performances by Jeff Pocaro, Joe Pocaro and Victor Feldman; 1983’s One More Mile; and 1996’s re-imagined retrospective of concert favorites Watching The River Run Revisited.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Messina’s next musical journey found him releasing the Latin-tinged EP Under a Mojito Moon: Part 1 in 2009 containing new Messina originals recorded only on his Flamenco guitar with sounds reminiscent of Spain and Cuba.