Hall of Famer Richie Furay from Poco and Buffalo Springfield to perform at the Chief in Steamboat
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — After 50 years, Richie Furay shows no signs of slowing down.
“It’s my love for music, when we go play the way we do, we have to love it,” said Furay during a break of holiday gift making Tuesday afternoon. “It’s not the money that sustains us anymore, it’s because we really want to do it, that has to be the heart and soul of it. The bottom line is, you have to love to play the music, because if not those anterior motives show up eventually.”
From the epicenter of creating a genre that dominated radio airways in the 1970s, Furay is known for pioneering the folk rock, country rock sound with quintessential groups like Buffalo Springfield, Poco and the Souther-Hillman-Furay band and trading lead vocals with the likes of former bandmates Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Chris Hillman and Jim Messina.
The Richie Furay Band will be in town this weekend as part of the Singer Songwriter Series, which is set to take the stage at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Chief Theater.
“People really credit him for affecting their music for the rest of their lives,” said Arty Smith, creator of the Singer Songwriter Series. “Even now, his voice sounds like it did in 1972, the first time I saw him with Poco in Central Park, New York City.”
Leaving L.A., the Ohio native pursued the life of a pastor in Colorado in 1983. He rarely performed again until 2007 when the Richie Furay Band was formed. Throughout 2008 and 2009 the band toured, and Furay even appeared with a Poco reunion performance during that time. In 2010, he reunited with Buffalo Springfield bandmates Stephen Stills and Neil Young, and in 2011, they headlined Bonaroo.
“Once you go on stage, there’s no going back, you take that step, and you’re out there, you’re vulnerable to that audience and whatever happens,” Furay said. “I’m always nervous even today after all these years. I think you have to have a bit of the adrenaline pumping nerves, it keeps you on your toes as to why you’re out there in the first place.”
In 2015, he released his most recent album “Hand in Hand” giving a nod to elements of Buffalo Springfield songs like “Kind Woman,” which he wrote during the late 1960s about his wife, Nancy, along with a salute to Poco with the album’s “We Are the Dreamers.”
“Writing music is in my blood,” Furay said. “It’s something I’ve identified with since I was little. Music is a part of my life. I always seem to have melodies running through my head with bits and pieces that I’m always working on.”
In 1997, Furay was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with Buffalo Springfield. Then in 2014, he was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame for his work with Poco.
From a kid inspired to become a musician by the likes of the early-60s golden boy Ricky Nelson, of TV’s “The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet” fame, to becoming a pioneer of country rock and folk rock, Furay says creating music was always about following instincts.
“When we were starting Poco and headed into uncharted territory it was as if a light bulb went off,” Furay said. “With every generation, I think there comes a group that wants to pioneer music that they feel is different than anything else that’s out there.”
Furay said he plans to retire from pastoring the church to pursue music more with The Richie Furay Band, which includes Furay’s daughter Jesse as well as his partner Scott Sellen’s son.
“I made the decision starting last year,” he said. “I toyed with the idea that it might be time to step aside from the church to free up time to do more music and that’s really what I want to be doing.”
“I have music in my blood and want to perform it and share it with as many people who want to come hear it,” Furay said.
There will also be a VIP meet and greet before each show starting at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 for general admission and $75 for the VIP pass and can be purchased online or at All That, 601 Lincoln Ave.
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