An Evening with Jim Messina

Wednesday, Feb 12, 2025
at 7:00pm
  On Sale to Members Only

Oh, the stories he can tell!

An undisputed expert in the fine art of making hit music, Jim Messina’s legacy of musical genius spans five decades, three super groups, a vibrant solo career, and scores of producing and engineering credits.

Born in California and raised in Harlingen, Texas until he was 8, his life was divided between his mother’s home in Texas and his father’s home in California. His father was a semi-professional guitarist who had a great influence on his son’s career; the younger Messina began playing the guitar when he was 5. During his high school years, he organized a group of his own called Jim Messina & His Jesters.

Messina became interested in the production side of recording and was a producer and audio engineer for Buffalo Springfield. He joined the band as a bass player, and when Springfield disbanded, he and bandmate Richie Furay formed the seminal band Poco, a group credited with creating country rock. Their debut album, Pickin’ Up the Pieces, is the only debut album to receive a perfect rating from Rolling Stone. The album set out a blueprint for a new musical genre, uniting country with rock and led the way for future artists like the Eagles.

Poco’s second album, called Poco, had Messina as producer and writer of the band’s first hit single, “You Better Think Twice,” one of the group’s signature songs. A copy of the album hangs in the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. After three more albums with Poco, Messina left and signed on as an independent producer with Columbia Records.

Towards the end of 1970, Messina opened up his living room to record a number of compositions for a promising young songwriter named Kenny Loggins. Messina felt that Loggins’ music had more of a folk sound. He suggested to Columbia’s Clive Davis that he ‘sit in’ much as jazz artists had in the past and that Loggins try to add more upbeat material. The result was the album Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin’ In. It included Messina songs like “Listen to a Country Song” and “Nobody but You.” An accidental duo was born.

In the next few years Loggins and Messina would release a series of albums, from the eponymous Loggins and Messina to Full Sail to Mother Lode, So Fine, Native Sons and Finale. At the end of their time together, they had sold 16 million albums, become one of rock’s biggest live draws and cemented their legacy as one of the most successful recording duos ever.

After Loggins and Messina disbanded, Messina began a successful solo career and reunited with Poco for the 1989 album Legacy. He established the Songwriters’ Performance Workshop and said its goal “was to empower the amateur to let go of the fear and embrace the joy of writing and performing their original music.”

Loggins and Messina reunited for a benefit in 2004 and it was as if they hadn’t been apart. “There was something there I had not been able to duplicate with anyone else,” Messina said. “There was a spark I’d completely forgotten about. It’s still there!”

As a solo artist, Messina released the CD Under a Mojito Moon-Part I, on which the only guitar he played was his flamenco guitar. The Latin-based arrangements feature trumpet, percussion, drums, piano, and nylon acoustic guitar in melodies reminiscent of the music of Cuba and Spain.

In 2012, Messina released the CD and DVD Jim Messina LIVE at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts, containing songs by Buffalo Springfield, Poco, Loggins & Messina, and his solo material.

After a series of celebrated acoustic tours, Jim formed a band made up of acclaimed musicians who had played with him at various points in his career. His latest release, 2017’s In the Groove, includes selected hits from all three of his previous bands, as well as some of his solo work. Being on the road and touring the country, he said that he’s enjoying discovering who he is, where he’s been, and, most significantly, where he’s going.

“The road most traveled in my innocence was with this band of poets and it is the same road that ‘Twists and Turns’ as I journey along my musical road of life,” he said. “For ‘I Ride with ‘Sinners’ and I sing with ‘Saints’ and I do what I do to avoid what I cain’t. I’ll pass on the judgment, now you make the call. I’m a playin’ my hand. Oh...the way the cards fall.”