Saturday, March 16th, 2019
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 Jim Messina can include all the above, in addition to being one half of the most successful duo of the 1970s.
As one half of Loggins & Messina, co-founder of Poco, and key contributor to Buffalo Springfield, Jim Messina has left an indelible footprint on popular music. Rusty Young and Messina formed Poco following the demise of Buffalo Springfield in 1968; the band, which included future-Eagles stars Randy Meisner and Timothy B. Schmidt, created timeless hits, such as “Crazy Love,” “Call It Love,” and “Heart of the Night.” Joining forces with Kenny Loggins in 1971, the duo released nine albums, selling more than 14 million records that featured hits Jim penned or co-wrote, such as “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” “My Music” and “Thinking Of You.”
Jim began learning guitar at the age of 5 and as he got older was attracted in particular to the guitar parts and sounds in early Elvis Presley and Ricky Nelson records. His California roots led him to early ‘6O’s surf music, fascinated by the guitar sounds of early surf/rock groups like Dick Dale and the DelTones, and the Champs.
When Jim was only 17 he was asked by a local deejay who had heard him play, to assemble a band and produce albums for two new artists the man was working with. Unsure just what producing even meant, Jim knew that he knew music, and he readily accepted the offer. Though both albums made beelines for oblivion, the studio’s engineer was impressed with Jim and asked him to stay on as his assistant and protégé. Over the next few years Jim became a knowledgeable and skilled recording, mixing, and mastering engineer, as well as a musician and producer.
Jim had returned to production after Poco disbanded, and was asked by Columbia Records to work with newcomer Kenny Loggins. Jim produced and played on their first album, Sittin’ In (1971), cementing a partnership that would last through the 70s and beyond. Following the breakup of Loggins & Messina, Jim took a few years off for the rest and self-exploration, and them began recording again as a solo performer. His solo acoustic performances led to his forming a new band to tour with, and to play the best of his own material and as well as that of some of the illustrious company he’d kept over the years. Now with seven solo albums to his credit – most recently, In the Groove (2017) – Jim says he’s enjoying discovering who he is, where he’s been and where he’s going.