March 20, 2015
Katharine Hepburn Theater
Old Saybrook, CT
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
The first day of spring and the snow is falling. It's all good because Richie Furay and his band are playing "The Kate" in Old Saybrook. Singer, guitarist, songwriter and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, Furay is probably best known for being a founding member of Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Bruce Palmer and Dewey Martin. He also co-founded Poco with Jim Messina and the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band with Chris Hillman and J.D. Souther. More recently, he was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. Now that is a pedigree most would envy.
The Empty Pockets, out of Chicago, warmed up the audience with a great sound to lift your spirits. They were a fun band with a sound all their own and a real pleasure to see perform. I will be following their music in the future.
When Richie Furay took the stage, it was good to hear his voice again. It's so distinctly recognizable and he still has the voice he had 40 years ago, which is amazing. Furay and his band treated the audience in the intimate venue of about 250 seats to a stellar night of music at its best.
Jessie Furay Lynch, the singer’s daughter, is due with child in May, so she was unable to accompany the band for this stop of their tour. Stepping was Erika Brett, from the Empty Pockets, and her beautiful voice fit like a glove. The players also included Scott Sellen on guitar and banjos, Jack Jeckot on keyboard and harmonica, Alan Lemke on drums, and Aaron Sellen on bass.
The band took us all along on an entertaining show of past, present and future. There was the classic Buffalo Springfield hit “For What It’s Worth,” which turned into a sing-a-long. “Pickin’ Up The Pieces,” the title track from Poco’s 1969 debut album, “Fallin’ In Love,” from Souther-Hillman-Furay’s 1974 self-titled debut album, and "Kind Woman," which appeared on Buffalo Springfield’s final album, 1968’s Last Time Around and became pivotal starting point in the formation of Poco, were all played as well..
Some of Furay’s newer songs from his 2015 album Hand In Hand were also rolled out. "We Were The Dreamers," a song about Furay’s time with Poco, was a real crowd pleaser.
The entire band meshed so well and seamlessly as their songs resonated off the walls of the old hall and created an atmosphere both comforting and welcoming. The audience took it all in like a deep breath. This was an exceptional concert by one of the greats singing his anthems of a generation.
Richie Furay is also a nice guy and it shows in his pure enjoyment of the moment. He was instrumental in the whole Colorado sound so prevalent in the early 70s. He spoke as if he were talking with a room of old friends about some of his experiences with Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Poco and life in general.
If you get a chance to see Richie Furay, do it while he is still touring. It was a good feelin' kind of night and we were all destined to leave with a smile. He said at the start of the show that he wanted us to leave glad that we braved the snow and came out to spend an evening with him. Two hours later we were. What a way to start spring.