Richie Furay Band

9 December 2007

Bluebird Theatre, Denver, CO


At age 63, Richie Furay seems to have a level of ambition as high as I've ever seen. While continuing his labor of love as a Broomfield, CO pastor, Richie recently completed a remarkably candid autobiography titled Pickin' Up The Pieces, a Christian CD titled I Am Sure, and a "mainstream" CD titled Heartbeat Of Love. In a local interview last year, Richie commented on how many people ask him whether he's a pastor or a rock star, and fervently proclaimed that he is not just one or the other. He takes great pride in being both, without at all sacrificing being either.

A local country folk singer name Coles Whalen opened the show here and at the previous engagement in Boulder four days earlier. Coles projects a very strong, emotional voice, and is currently working on a new album in Nashville.

A bright, smiling Richie and four-piece backing band walked out on stage to a polite round of applause at tonight's 200-or-so-seat venue on the "Colfax Strip" a couple miles East of downtown Denver.

As he opened the Poco 1989 Legacy reunion album, the tight ensemble country rocked with "Do You Remember When", and immediately dove head first into an elaborate early career catalog that included "Just In Case It Happens", "Pickin' Up The Pieces", "Just For Me And You", "Fallin' In Love", "Believe Me", "C'Mon", and Buffalo Springfield gems "Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing", "Go And Say Goodbye", "Flying On The Ground Is Wrong", and "Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It".

Richie introduced "Sad Memory" with a story about showing up to the studio earlier than Stephen Stills and Neil Young, practicing what was then his new song, and people in the control room asking Richie to record it, and afterwards Neil adding the heavily reverbed lead guitar, turning the track into the first song penned by Richie to make it to vinyl.

Not leaving any milestone unturned, Richie dug into tracks from his 1970s solo albums, including an interesting version of "I'm Satisfied" from his 1979 LP, I Still Have Dreams, featuring his very smooth-yet-strong-voiced daughter Jesse Furay Lynch on lead vocals.

"And Settlin' Down" and "Good Feeling To Know" from Poco's 1972 album rounded out the strong set.

Then, when the band returned for the encore, they seemed in the mood to take requests and play well into the evening, and as a result the intimate audience got to hear "Wake Up My Soul", "Callin' Out Your Name", "Forever With You", the title track of Heartbeat Of Love, "Kind Woman", and "Let's Dance Tonight".

In addition to Richie and Jesse, the Richie Furay Band included longtime songwriting partner Scott Sellen, his son Aaron Sellen, and drummer Alan Lempke. Overall, the band seemed remarkably tight, yet free to cut loose--Scott definitely impressed myself and the rest of the crowd with his ability to play lead and keyboards, as well as the banjo that most associate him with. The band as a whole seemed well-rehearsed, and large in repertoire.

Tonight's show probably had less religious and less personal story flavor than previous shows, and had more focus on the music, with some stories behind the music. Overall, a wonderful, very rewarding show!

Richie, perhaps the friendliest, most generous, most polite member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame walked out into the Theatre after the show to sign autographs and chat. His wife of 40 years Nancy, equally as polite, sold merchandise for the band at the front of the Theatre.

Richie Furay is probably the most spiritually healthy recording artist alive. He sounds better than ever, and it seems like he's got everything going very well.

[*****] - Steven T.

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