For music lovers in the Central Valley and fans of songs like “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” “Thinking of You,” “Listen to a Country Song,” “Angry Eyes,” and “Watching the River Run” there will be a performance by Jim Messina at the Gallo Center for the Arts on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 4 p.m. Some people may know Messina when he was part of Poco, Buffalo Springfield, and as one half of the duo Loggins and Messina in the 1970s.
“I think what they can expect to see is really, a very diverse evening that starts off acoustically, with a lot of three- and four-part harmonies, a light acoustic jazz to going into folk songs that people may be more familiar with like “Danny’s Song,” said Messina. “They will see a transition from that into more country rock and usually if we do take a break then we will come back and do songs like “Be Free” and “Angry Eyes” then start moving into more rock and then by the end of the evening it is more high energy Latin jazz.”
In 1966, he began working with Buffalo Springfield as a recording engineer, and then as a producer as well. At the time of the band’s third and final album they lost their bass player. So Messina auditioned for it and began touring with them.
When the band broke up, Messina signed with Epic Records as a producer and recording artist along with another member of the former Buffalo Springfield, Richie Furay, and the two formed Poco. Originally they were named ‘Pogo’ after the comic strip character but were served with a cease and desist order to change it so they changed the g to a c. Their first single was “You Better Think Twice.” Fans can find a copy of the Poco album in the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. Three albums later Messina left the duo and became an independent producer for Columbia Records.
Messina began working with Kenny Loggins in November 1970 and helped him create a more upbeat sound. In November 1971 they released an album called “Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin’ In” which led to them becoming a duo. They created seven albums as a duo and those albums sold 16 million copies.
With skills as a recording engineer, producer, and musician, Messina’s music career continued with some solo albums and a few reunions.
His love for music began when he was a kid watching his dad, who was a musician, play and then was part of the Cal Worthington show when he was about 10 or 11 years old.
“He (Cal) used to have all these country stars on Sunday come out and play at his car lot,” added Messina. “That is the way that he got people to come out and buy cars. I remember seeing Johnny Cash, The Tennessee Two...”
In high school he had an electric guitar and got a small band together that would play for guests at the country club where he was paid in all the Shirley Temples he could drink.
“It worked out great,” expressed Messina. “It gave me an audience. It was a fun part of my life.”
Through the years he has worked with a variety of artists and has had many memorable life experiences.
He is bringing a full band along with him to the Gallo and has a love for Northern California. Messina lived on a ranch in Murphys for a number of years.
“I’ve got some great musicians working with me,” stated Messina. “I enjoy performing. It is a way of life for me. I am looking forward to it (performing at the Gallo). I love Northern California. It has always been one of my favorite places. It holds a special place in my heart. I am looking forward to the audience and the venue.”