Keep On Tryin'
Heart Of The Night
Lesson 1: Keep On Tryin'
Poco was one of the pioneering bands in the early days of country rock. Richie Furay and Jim Messina came from the Buffalo Springfield orbit and continued on their path by starting Poco in 1968. Timothy B. Schmidt joined as their bass player the next year and stayed with them until 1977, when he joined The Eagles. Schmidt wrote Keep On Tryin', which appeared on their 1975 album Head Over Heels, which went on to be their biggest hit up to that time. The song was recorded one half step low and featured a simple acoustic guitar accompaniment, along with great harmony vocals.
This lesson is done at standard pitch and starts with a 'Work It Out' segment for the student to figure out the chord progression, so please try that before printing out the chart if you are interested.
It continues with a segment on country style strumming, goes over the progression and some bass run embellishments, and a short Play Through.
Lesson 2: Kind Woman
Kind Woman started as a tune Richie Furay wrote and and planned on recording with his band, The Buffalo Springfield in 1968. As it turned out, the band was heading toward the 'Last Time Around', and, like most of the album, became a solo project of the writer. However, it did bring together Jim Messina and Rusty Young who, along with Richie started Poco shortly afterward.
This lesson starts with the way Richie Furay played it solo, and with various friends and relatives over the next 50 years. It is really a 'Campfire' song in 3/4 time that is good for beginning guitar players. It just uses four easy chords and a basic strumming pattern.
The last segment looks at the unusual time signature changes that were done in the original version, mainly because the recording session was done using some New York based jazz musicians.
Lesson 3: Heart Of The Night
By 1978 Poco had pretty much disbanded but Paul Cotton and Rusty Young chose to carry on as the Cotton-Young Band. By the time they put together a few tunes and recruited a couple other musicians, the label decided to make their album the next Poco album. Legacy was released in 1978 and finally brought them a couple hits.
Heart Of The Night is a Paul Cotton composition that opens with a simple little melody derived from a D chord, adds a 3-chord syncopated change for the chorus, wraps up with a bridge based on the same two chords as the verse, and adds colorful descriptions of the South as lyrics to create what may be considered their most famous song.
The original was altered (slowed down) to be 1/2 step lower than the key they played it in. They generally played it in the key of D when performing it live, which is what is shown in this lesson.
Lesson 4: Crazy Love
Crazy Love was the only number 1 hit Poco had, even after 10 years together when the released the Legend album in 1978. By then the band was down to just Rusty Young and Paul Cotton. Rusty wrote this catchy tune and it convinced the record company to keep them around for a few more.
The song is a simple 3-chord progression but features some nice, light flatpicking with one signature lick, as well as great harmonies. This lesson goes over the strumming, the arrangement, and includes a short segment on working the melody into the strumming.
Lesson 5: Bad Weather
Poco was one of the pioneering bands of what was later labeled 'Country Rock', and never really had the success of some of its descendants (ever hear of The Eagles?). After two studio and one live album, founding member Jim Messina was replaced by Paul Cotton (ever hear of Loggins & Messina?), who brought the band some of his songs, including Bad Weather, which he had done with his band Illinois Speed Press. It continued to be one he played in concert frequently with Poco and in solo performances.
The song features some unusual key changes, even in each short section, great harmony (courtesy of Timothy B. Schmidt and Richie Furay), a pedal steel solo from Rusty Young (turned into a bluegrass-style solo for this lesson), and a simple but well composed acoustic solo from Richie Furay, also included in the lesson.
The original was recorded with the guitars tuned one half step down but this lesson is done at standard pitch. It covers the chord progressions, the arrangement, and even the intro, where Paul's melody and the chords are combined for a soloist to be able to include the harmony/bass part.
Lesson 6: Rose Of Cimarron
Rose Of Cimarron is a Rusty Young composition that was the title tune on Poco's ninth album in 1976. Rusty wrote it for Roy Rogers when the producer for Roy's planned album asked Rusty for a cowboy song. That project was never completed but Rusty's bandmates, Paul Cotton and Timothy B. Schmidt were impressed with the song enough to make it the lead for their next album.
The story of Rose Dunn is long and tragic and is told in the preview to this lesson.
The original recording opened with a 12-string guitar being fingerpicked, and this lesson gets as close as possible to that sound on a standard 6-string. It can aso be strummed with a flatpick or fingers, and that approach is covered as well. There are not many cords but a couple barre chords are necessary.
The lesson also goes into some passing or connecting bass notes as the chords change.