“For a long time I didn’t think I’d ever make another album,” says Richie Furay. “Let’s face it, I’m an old-timer and who knows what the cards have in store.”
Now 71, Furay has earned the right to take his time about his music. Nine years since his last solo album, The Heartbeat Of Love, the former Buffalo Springfield and Poco singer-guitarist has always opted for quality over quantity. As evidenced by his new album, Hand In Hand: a wonderfully heartfelt mix of the kind of blues- and folk-inflected country rock that these days gets called Americana.
“We didn’t really have any labels like that when I was starting out in the 1960s,” he explains. “We just saw what we did as making something new.”
Indeed it was. Something so new it became its own genre, working its magic across generations of musicians, from Tom Petty to The Black Crowes and way, way beyond.
So how did Hand In Hand come about?
Song ideas, be they lyrical or just riffs or guitar lines that would come to me. It wasn’t until [fellow former Buffalo Springfield members] Stephen Stills, Neil Young and I got together for the Bridge School concerts in 2010 that I really got the inspiration to put the pieces together that I had into a new album. It was after that show that Stephen and Neil and I started talking about getting the Springfield back together for a tour, but all of a sudden the songs just started to come. And when they did I really felt I had something special going on and that I better record them!
So few older artists manage to come up with great new music. What’s your secret?
I still have current music in my mind. I have fresh thoughts in my head. I’m a pioneer. So I never have that fear of my new music being accepted. And you’re right, I can’t think of many of my contemporaries that are coming up with something new. Most are just resting on their laurels. I feel very privileged that this new music is still flowing through me, and as long as it does I’m gonna keep playing it.
You can hear that attitude on the album’s upbeat opening track, We Were The Dreamers.
Again, I just feel blessed that my voice has maintained a sound that is acceptable. That I don’t sound like some old man just trying to make some music. That track like the rest of the album is written, though, from the perspective of where I’m at right now. I’m not fooling around.
What made you decide to include the live version of the great old Poco hit Kind Woman?
Two things. The original Buffalo Springfield and Poco versions, they have these out of time musical measures. So I just wanted to record the song in time. Secondly, I wasn’t able to get Neil [Young] on it before, but this time I did. The little guitar part he contributed – so simple, but so dynamic.
Where next for you?
The road. You have to take your music on the road if you want it heard. It’s there to be played and that’s what I do best.
Hand In Hand is out now.