Posts Tagged ‘Timothy B. Schmit’

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Despite being miles ahead of their time and writing one of the greatest rock songs ever (“For What It’s Worth”), Buffalo Springfield fell into the margins of rock history after making three albums between 1966 and 1968 and splitting up. That’s probably because a few of the members namely Stephen Stills, Neil Young and Jim Messina would go on to even bigger things. Another core member, Richie Furay, took Messina (plus recruits Rusty Young, George Grantham and future Eagle Randy Meisner) and started Poco as a vehicle for the blend of rock and country that he’d brought to Buffalo Springfield. Poco’s debut 1969 album, Pickin’ Up the Pieces, along with the first Flying Burrito Brothers album, are now considered two of the most influential albums of the country-rock movement. On Poco’s self-titled sophomore album, another future Eagle, Timothy B. Schmit, replaced Meisner on bass. Both records were well-regarded, but neither got much radio play.

Messina departed in 1971 but, interestingly, secured the services of his replacement, guitarist and songwriter Paul Cotton, and actually oversaw a transition of power during a three-night run at Fillmore West on Oct. 30th, 31st and November. 1st, 1970, when Poco opened for Procol Harum. On the first two nights, Messina played while Cotton studied. On the final night, Cotton took over, with Messina observing. It wasn’t the band’s first personnel shake-up, and it would be far from the last, but Rusty Young kept Poco kept chugging along into the 21st century.

Initially naming themselves after Walt Kelly’s iconic comic strip character Pogo, the band made its live debut three months after the release of the Byrds’ seminal Sweetheart of the Rodeo and three months before the Burritos’ debut, The Gilded Palace of Sin.“If any one event can be said to have ignited L.A.’s country-rock scene it would have to be the debut show by Pogo at the Troubadour in November 1968,” writes Barney Hoskyns in Hotel California, his definitive history of Southern California’s folk-rock scene in the ’60s and ’70s. Playing in full view of Linda Ronstadt, Rick Nelson and other luminaries that would share country influences, they played “a tight, ebullient set as good as any performance the Buffalo Springfield had given,”

During sessions for that band’s final album, Buffalo Springfield co-founder Richie Furay and Jim Messina, the Springfield short timer who produced the set, recruited steel guitarist Rusty Young to play on Furay’s “Kind Woman,” the album’s most country-influenced piece. With the band’s demise, the trio formed the core of the new band, adding bassist Randy Meisner and drummer George Grantham and gaining not only a rhythm section but two more singers, thus laying the foundation for the choral muscle that would become an earmark.

Poco (as they would rename themselves following legal threats from Kelly) gelled quickly. With Furay on rhythm guitar, Messina’s wiry Telecaster leads answered Young’s virtuosic pedal steel and Dobro. If the Byrds and Burritos gave country-rock substance, Poco helped fine-tune its style with a tight live sound that moved the fulcrum of the genre away from Nashville and straight into Bakersfield—country and western, emphasizing California’s leaner accent.

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Behind the scenes, they were less cheerful: Tension over Furay’s dominance as songwriter and Messina’s guiding hand as producer fractured the nascent group before it could complete the album, with Meisner rebelling when he was excluded from final mixing sessions. Meisner quit prior to its release, his bass parts and backing vocals retained and lead vocals erased and replaced by new leads by George Grantham. Poco’s formation occurred at an inflection point in country’s influence on rock. Apart from the Byrds and the Burrito Brothers, former Byrds lead singer Gene Clark, Bob Dylan, the Beau Brummels and the Everly Brothers all tapped into country elements between ’67 and ’68, with the pace of country-rock releases quickening in 1969 with the Burritos’ debut, the Byrds’ Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde and Dylan’s Nashville Skyline preceding Poco’s first studio album in May. Manager David Geffen landed them a contract with Epic Records, freeing Furay from his ties to Atlantic Records in a swap enabling Graham Nash to depart his obligations to the label, via the Hollies, and join David Crosby and Stephen Stills on Atlantic.

Furay and Messina wasted little time in replacing Meisner with Timothy B. Schmit, whose fleet, melodic bass guitar and high tenor vocals brought a seamless fit onstage and on their self-titled second studio album a year later. It was this line-up that was recorded at back-to-back concerts at the Boston Music Hall and New York’s Felt Forum on September 22nd and 23rd, respectively

The quintet’s early records met with modest sales, but onstage they were a force from inception, as captured by their third album and first live recording, “Deliverin’”, released on January 13th, 1971.

Deliverin’ opens at a gallop with “I Guess You Made It,” showcasing Young’s shapeshifting pedal steel, here routed through a Leslie speaker cabinet to emulate a Hammond B-3 organ. Like the Burritos’ steel player “Sneaky Pete” Kleinow, Young shrewdly mixes classic steel technique with rock effects. Both the brisk tempo and the band’s vocal zeal are signatures that recur throughout the set, with Poco noteworthy for spontaneous shouts closer to the days of the British Invasion than typical for the era.

Reflecting both Furay’s prolific song writing output and the band’s confidence in breaking in material on the road, the album includes three more previously unreleased songs, while devoting the other four tracks to more familiar works, starting with a leisurely performance of “Kind Woman,” the Springfield track that first brought Furay, Messina and Young together. A warm ballad in waltz time, the song offers a breather between the uptempo songs and medleys that dominate their set.

The album’s first medley welds a new Schmit song, “Hard Luck,” with Furay’s “A Child’s Claim to Fame,” introduced on Buffalo Springfield Again, and his title track for the Poco debut full-length. A testament to Young’s technical command, his Dobro work here gives no ground to James Burton’s studio take on the Springfield perennial. With tracks from their second studio album still percolating on FM playlists, the band refreshes one of Poco’s best-received songs, Messina’s “You Better Think Twice” (here listed as “You’d Better Think Twice”) by shifting from the razor-edged electric lead figures Messina played in the studio to an acoustic setting their spoken intro flags as “down home,” with Young moving to Dobro rather than steel.

For the album’s closing track, the band revisits three of the debut album’s songs in a medley framing Rusty Young’s lively pedal steel instrumental, “Grand Junction,” with two more Furay originals, “Just in Case it Happens, Yes Indeed” and “Consequently, So Long.”

Across its brisk 39 minutes, Deliverin’ maintains a lighter touch than harder blues-leaning rockers of that era, consistently pushing vocal harmonies higher thanks to Schmit’s and Furay’s ease at slipping into falsetto head tones. Coupled with the band’s instrumental dexterity, that style was what galvanized that first audience at the Troubadour and would continue to be a hallmark of the band and an influence on peers and successors such as Pure Prairie League, Firefall and the Eagles.

That Deliverin’ conveyed their potency as a live band was borne out by sales handily outstripping their two studio albums, reaching #26 on the album chart and yielding a minor hit in “C’mon” that validated their confidence in emphasizing new material rather than familiar album tracks. But internal squabbles would again interrupt Poco’s forward momentum, this time between Furay and Messina, who chafed at Furay’s control, leaving the band less than a month after those live shows to partner with a more compliant Kenny Loggins and bequeathing his perch in Poco to Illinois Speed Press alumnus Paul Cotton.

Young’s steady commitment to the band would provide the constant that enabled Poco to become one of the longest-running country-rock outfits, based in Colorado where the native Californian was raised. Furay would remain with the band for three more albums, quitting in 1973 to join J.D. Souther and Chris Hillman in the ill-fated Southern Hillman Furay Band, while Schmit would leave four years later to join the Eagles, replacing Meisner for a second time.

Poco’s most successful album came a year later, with 1978’s Legacy reaping the hit profile for which Furay and Messina had hungered. Its breakout hit was “Crazy Love,” written and sung by Young, the last man standing from the original band. Young’s persistence would enable Poco to survive subsequent label and line-up changes, securing the band’s induction into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame in 2015, two years after Young’s formal retirement.

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Live From The Forum MMXVIII 4LP

Live Album And Concert Film Captures Definitive, 26-Song Performance Recorded Live Over Three Nights At The Forum In Los Angeles In September 2018

The Eagles spent most of 2018 on the road with an extensive North American tour that found Don Henley, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmit joined by two new bandmates: Deacon Frey and Vince Gill. Earning rave reviews from fans and critics alike, the quintet was firing on all cylinders when they arrived at the Forum in Los Angeles for three sold-out, hometown shows on September 12th, 14th, and 15th. Highlights from all three shows have now been compiled for a new 26-song live album and concert film LIVE FROM THE FORUM MMXVIII.

LIVE FROM THE FORUM MMXVIII captures definitive live performances of the band’s most iconic hits (“Hotel California,” “Take It Easy,” “Life In The Fast Lane,” “Desperado”) and beloved album tracks (“Ol’ 55,” “Those Shoes”), along with some of the individual members’ biggest solo smashes (Don Henley’s “Boys Of Summer,” Vince Gill’s “Don’t Let Our Love Start Slippin’ Away,” Joe Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way”).

The band: Guitar, Vocals: Deacon Frey Drums, Vocals: Don Henley Producer: Don Henley Guitar, Vocals: Joe Walsh Piano: John Corey Backing Vocals: John Corey Supervisor: Richard F.W. Davis Drums, Percussion: Scott F Crago Guitar, Mandolin: Steuart Smith Backing Vocals: Steuart Smith Bass, Vocals: Timothy B. Schmit Guitar, Vocals: Vince Gill Keyboards: Will Hollis Backing Vocals: Will Hollis

A brand new Eagles concert film, Live From the Forum MMXVIII, will debut on ESPN on Sunday.

The 26-song collection, complied from three September 2018 shows at the Los Angeles Arena, will be the band’s first official release since the death of co-founding member Glenn Frey, When Glenn Frey passed away in 2016, many wondered about the future of the Eagles. Happily, the band persevered and celebrated Frey’s legacy

in 2016, and mark the recorded debut of new members Deacon Frey and Vince Gill.

“Music and sports fans have been shut out from live events for more than three months,” said Eagles manager Irving Azoff. “The premiere of Live From the Forum MMXVIII, this July 4th weekend on ESPN, is the Eagles’ gift to their fans. We are honoured to be part of ESPN’s Sunday night programming, the home of such acclaimed shows as 30 for 30 and The Last Dance.”

Director Nick Wickham shot the concert utilizing fourteen 4K cameras. Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit, Deacon Frey, and Vince Gill delivered the goods in a marathon show drawing on every one of their original albums from Eagles (1972) to Long Road Out of Eden (2007) and such indelible hits as “Take It Easy,” “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” “I Can’t Tell You Why,” “Heartache Tonight,” “Life in the Fast Lane,” and “Take it to the Limit.” Album favourites weren’t ignored either, including “Ol’ 55” and “Those Shoes.” Additionally, the concert featured some of the group members’ biggest solo hits including Henley’s “Boys of Summer,” Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way” and “Life’s Been Good” (as well as “Funk # 49” and “Walk Away” from his old band The James Gang), and Gill’s “Don’t Let Our Love Start Slippin’ Away.”

Vinyl, CD, Blu-ray and DVD versions of the show will be released on October. 16th. They are available for pre-order now at the Eagles‘ official website.

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Eagles bassist Timothy B. Schmit has released a new song titled “The Good Fight” that features Sheryl Crow.

The track runs nearly eight minutes. Schmit didn’t reveal whether the release is connected to an upcoming album. “I recorded a new song, “The Good Fight,” with my friend Sheryl Crow,” he said. “There couldn’t be any better time than right now to release this.”

Speaking in 2017 about his attitude toward songwriting, Schmit said that “there’s less time in front of me now than there is behind me, and I do think about my mortality a lot more. It’s those age-old questions, and I just try and put them into some kind of song form and hope that it resonates with others.”

He said with Eagles that he thinks “the friction was part of the creativity. I’m sure it was. … I was the guy just trying to make things okay. I did what I can to keep the peace. Sometimes there’s not much you could do with outside situations, and you just have to go with it.”

Earlier this year, Crow also collaborated with Schmit’s Eagles bandmate Joe Walsh, bringing him in for her song “Still the Good Old Days,” which is featured on Threads, a duets album with other big names.

“Many of these people, I owned their records when I was seven and eight years old,” she said. “Who would have thought a young girl from a tiny town in Missouri would wind up working with these people and having relationships with them?

Timothy B. Schmit’s new song “The Good Fight” with Sheryl Crow Available Now

The new Eagles lineup, with Deacon Frey, centre. Picture: George Holz

He liked to sit at the side of stage, watching as his father sang some of the most popular songs in the history of  music. The young onlooker had nothing but love and respect for the way his dad could charm a crowd with his talent while ­harnessing a voice whose purity had the power to make grown men and women weep.

Night after night, this boy watched as Glenn Frey and his bandmates in the Eagles played music that came to be associated with the laid-back, sun-kissed Californian state of mind. When his Dad was singing lead vocals on songs such as Take It Easy and Already Gone, Frey ­invariably closed his eyes to concentrate on hitting the right notes.

Deacon Frey was born in the April 1993, a year before his dad’s band re-formed after a 14-year hiatus. Its absence from the world stage had only made hearts grow fonder, and the period ­following the 1994 live album Hell Freezes Over brought a renewed interest in the timeless qualities of the Eagles’ highly melodic sound, which spanned country ballads and sleek rock ’n’ roll while foregrounding sweet harmonies.

In late 2004, Deacon took a few weeks off school to travel to Australia for the band’s ­Farewell 1 tour, the name a cheeky nod to the fact the farewell was only just getting started.

With his father’s long-time guitar technician Victor Rodriguez, Deacon would sit near the racks of beautiful instruments and watch the show while wearing an earpiece that allowed him to hear exactly what his father was playing and singing. It was the sort of intimate masterclass in musicianship that few have been lucky enough to experience.

Deacon came to regard his father’s fellow musicians — drummer Don Henley, guitarist Joe Walsh and bassist Timothy B. Schmit, all of whom alternated lead on the vocals as ­uncles, and the travelling entourage as his ­second ­family. Despite his proximity to the band, he never got sick of listening to the Eagles.

In January 2016, Glenn Frey died at a New York hospital from complications of rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia, at the age of 67. Both families and bandmates were devastated: the band had recently completed a highly successful two-year world tour following the release of the 2013 documentary History of the Eagles, including a run of Australian shows in February and March 2015. The final farewell came too soon; they all thought they had more time.

At a private memorial service for his father held at The Forum in Los Angeles, Deacon ­elected to play Peaceful Easy Feeling, a track from the band’s 1972 debut album. Nothing about the performance was easy, but with help from Schmit and founding guitarist Bernie ­Leadon, Deacon the young man strummed his guitar, closed his eyes and sang the very words he had watched his father sing: “I got a peaceful easy feeling / And I know you won’t let me down / ’Cause I’m already standing / On the ground … ”

Don Henley was impressed by the young man’s composure at the memorial and his determination to do a good job for his father. As far as Henley was concerned, the band had died on the same day as his co-founder; he had said as much in interviews following a performance of Take It Easy at the 2016 Grammy Awards.

Yet Deacon’s calm, assured performance on one of the most emotionally challenging days of his 23 years on earth lit a slow-burning fuse in the great songwriter’s mind.

Up ahead in the distance, he saw a shimmering light: America’s greatest rock band returning to the stage to continue its four-decade tradition of playing some of the most popular songs in the history of recorded music.

In March 2017, the band members met Deacon at his father’s studio in west Los Angeles with the idea of playing and singing ­together. More than a year had passed since the memorial, and all involved were interested to see whether the idea would work, and if they would each feel comfortable with pressing on together.

The Eagles camp had also put out feelers to another musician named Vince Gill.

Born in Oklahoma in 1957, Gill is an inductee of the Country Music Hall of Fame and has won 21 Grammy awards, more than any male country music artist. Renowned for his clear voice and guitar abilities, he was also a long-time friend and regular golfing buddy of the band’s departed co-­founder. Gill is about a decade younger than Henley, Walsh and Schmit, and when he was starting out as a songwriter and musician, he ­regarded the Eagles as the beacon to follow.

At their first rehearsal together, Gill walked up to Deacon, put his arm around the young man and asked a question: Are you as scared as I am? Deacon laughed and said he was, whereupon Gill made a deal: I’ve got your back if you’ve got mine. From that moment on, the two newest ­Eagles members have been firm friends and have helped each other to navigate the inner workings of a hard-toiling band that consistently strives for the melodic and harmonic perfection of its original recordings.

All Gill recalls of the minutes leading up to his first concert with the band is white noise. The venue was a packed Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, where the Eagles headlined a two-day festival last July called The Classic West, alongside Fleetwood Mac, Journey and Steely Dan.

About 56,000 people were waiting to see how the new guys would treat those great old songs. Gill could sense the crowd’s uncertainty, and he didn’t blame them for their ­apprehension. One song in, though, he felt the tension ­dissolve as both fans and musicians ­realised that the new line-up was a perfect fit.

Gill describes Deacon as a good kid and a pretty heady character. He always hits the mark and never lets the band down; in other words, he’s an ideal companion in an industry where reliability can be in short supply. For Deacon, though, the preparation ahead of that first show was a little different, as he didn’t have the decades of onstage experience Gill could draw on.

In conversation, the elder Eagles speak of the young man with the utmost respect. During a band interview, Deacon tends to let his second family do most of the talking, but he’s thoughtful and expansive when asked ­directly. His first family, too, has been nothing but supportive of his decision to join the band. His sister, Taylor, is working as his road manager: Ahead of the Dodger Stadium show, Walsh warned Deacon that as soon as he walked on stage, he’d be hit with piercing floodlights. Don’t look at them, said Walsh, and try not to look at the audience either: instead, try to be ­inside the songs, without feeling as if everybody in the crowd is holding a clipboard and judging him. After all, just about everyone is either staring at the big screens or looking at their phone.

Henley’s advice was a little more vulgar: you have to give a shit without really giving too much of a shit. The real work of live performance is a strange and somewhat unnatural ­combination of the need to be present without being too self-conscious. But, Henley assured Deacon, if he focused his attention on the songs, everything else would take care of itself.

In the moments before he made his public debut as an Eagles member, Deacon recalls the small voice of a lifelong sports fan whispering in his ear: he was about to perform at Dodger ­Stadium, one of the country’s greatest baseball parks. How cool is that? Like his bandmates, Schmit was impressed by the calm presence of the young man, at least on the surface. It reflected the reverence with which he had approached the task of studying, rehearsing and preparing for that first show.

Having composed himself for the four minutes required to perform a song at his father’s memorial the year before, Deacon had proved he could handle challenging situations. “It was a combination of excitement and fear, which I think is totally fine, and healthy — and honestly, it helps,” he recalls of his Dodger Stadium debut, smiling. “There’d be something wrong if I wasn’t nervous.”

On a mild Saturday afternoon last month, the Eagles are preparing to play their last concert of a six-show run in their home state of California. Once night falls at a baseball stadium surrounded by skyscrapers in central San Diego, the five musicians stand in line at the front of stage and open with the sweet vocal harmonies of Seven Bridges Road, before Walsh ­introduces Deacon to sing Take It Easy. From that moment on, the crowd is wholly on his side as the young guitarist alternates between backing vocals and taking the lead. Henley, Walsh and Gill each take lead vocals for a track or three from their respective solo ­careers, but most of the 26-song set is ­composed of exactly what the audience expects to hear: the very best moments from the seven ­Eagles studio albums.

The Eagles – Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit, with Vince Gill and Deacon Frey – are bringing their critically acclaimed tour to Europe in 2019 and will perform classics spanning their career, including “Hotel California,” “One of These Nights,” “Life in the Fast Lane,” “Desperado,” and many more. The tour begins on Sunday 26 May at the Sportpaleis in Antwerp, Belgium, and includes concerts in Cologne, Munich, Amsterdam, Zurich, Stockholm, Copenhagen, London (with Special Guest Sheryl Crow), Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Glasgow, and Dublin.

“I’m not a particularly fast songwriter,” admits Timothy B. Schmit, whose new release “Leap of Faith” an album of unhurried folk-pop and soft-spoken roots-rock – marks the Eagles bassist’s second solo release since 2001.

Written and tracked during breaks in the Eagles‘ touring schedule, the new record shines a light not only on Schmit’s voice, which remains remarkably untouched by the decades that have elapsed since he sang his band’s final hit, “I Can’t Tell You Why,” but also the songwriting chops of an Americana pioneer. Long before that genre had a name, Schmit helped glue the nuance of country and bluegrass to the noise of rock. If the music on Leap of Faith sounds somewhat familiar, it’s because Schmit now shares the marketplace with songwriters who grew up studying his work with Poco and the Eagles.
With Leap of Faith’s “Red Dirt Road,” , Schmit proves he’s more than willing to break the rules of a genre he helped launch. He’s not singing about the Red Dirt scene in Oklahoma and Texas. Instead, he’s paying tribute to the soil of the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i, which gives an appropriate setting to a song about slowing down and taking stock of your surroundings.
“There’s some rich, deep soil there,” he says. “You have a good chance of growing a plumeria tree by just sticking a branch of a plumeria into the ground. It’s unbelievable. That was the motivation. It’s a song about trying to enjoy your life. You can go about your daily business and see it from sunup to sundown – and see it in the best light possible, too – and then just enjoy yourself.”
Firing twin barrels of bluegrass and Cajun – the latter influence coming from guest artist and longtime buddy Van Dyke Parks, who played accordion on the track – “Red Dirt Road” was recorded at Schmit’s home studio, with the Santa Monica Mountains in the distance and a large stretch of state-preserved land just outside the studio window.
“I grew up in studios — ‘proper’ recording studios — that never had any windows,” says Schmit, who co-produced the 11-song set with Hank Linderman. “I always wondered about that. I understand the thing about creating perfect sonics, but nobody listening to the album in their living room or car has the perfect space. My wife and I built the studio together, and the vibe there simply feels like going over to somebody’s house and hanging out and doing music. It overlooks a meadow. It’s beautiful.”
Leap of Faith makes its big jump on September 23rd, during the peak of this year’s Americana Music Festival. Schmit is playing two performances in Nashville that week, and he’ll present at the Americana Music Awards on September 21st, as well. He’s never been to the festival, but when asked if he’s honored to appear at an event that owes much of its existence to his own music, Schmit shrugs off the compliment.
“This is just what I do,” he says. “And I’ve definitely been doing it for a long time.”

Timothy B. Schmit’s “Red Dirt Road” from his new album, Leap of Faith, out September 23rd, 2016.