Obituaries

It is with great sadness that we confirm the passing of Poco co-founder, Rusty Young, at the age of 75. Young suffered a heart attack last week. A beloved member of the Blue Élan Records family, Young was best known as the heart and soul of Poco - the band widely considered to be one of the founders of the classic Southern California country rock sound. Young was an integral member of the band throughout their influential six decade career.

Singer/songwriter Ed Bruce passed away Friday, January 8th at age 81. As a songwriter, artists such as Crystal Gayle (Restless), Charlie Louvin (See The Big Man Cry), Tommy Roe (Save Your Kisses), Tanya Tucker (Texas When I Die, The Man That Turned My Mama On), and Willie Nelson (Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys) are just a few who have recorded his songs. As an artist, Bruce’s hits include “The Last Cowboy Song”, “Love’s Found You And Me”, “Ever, Never Lovin’ You”, “After All”, “My First Taste Of Texas” and more.

Howard Johnson, veteran jazz musician, tuba innovator and founding member of the Saturday Night Live band, died at home in New York on Jan. 11, 2021, following a long illness, according to his longtime partner, Nancy Olewine. 

Charley Pride, whose rich baritone voice and impeccable song-sense altered American culture, died Saturday, December 12, 2020, in Dallas, Texas of complications from Covid-19 at age 86.

Born a sharecropper’s son in Sledge, Mississippi, on March 18, 1934, Pride emerged from Southern cotton fields to become country music’s first Black superstar and the first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

“No person of color had ever done what he has done,” said Darius Rucker in the PBS American Masters film Charley Pride: I’m Just Me.

"Charlie’s been like a brother to me since the early ‘70s. He’s one of the greatest, kindest people I’d ever met in my life. Not only Charlie - but he surrounded himself with incredible people that I love, especially his wife Hazel. We did a duet of a song Charlie wrote called 'Willie Jones' and it was one of the most fun studio sessions I’ve been in. I’ve always loved playing Volunteer Jams through the years - I will miss my dear friend." - Bobby Bare, Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member

Grammy Award winning, Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame member, Little Richard, the mastermind behind legendary hits “Long Tall Sally,” “Rip It Up,” “Good Golly Miss Molly,” “Tutti Frutti” and many more, has passed away at the age of 87. Little Richard's music broke racial barriers and his impressionable style shattered all that was standard. The eccentric star paved the way for other stand-out acts with his unique nature, flamboyant flair and inspiring innovations to culture. With an unmatched career of stellar achievements, the musical giant leaves behind an unforgettable legacy.

"Kenny Rogers was one of the greatest, I've been thinking about him all day since I heard the sad news. When we went into Hall of Fame together, truth is, I thought he was already in! To be inducted alongside him made it that much more of an honor. 'The Gamber' is a great story song, so well written, and Kenny had an ear for really great songs. He had a magic voice, instantly recognizable. I will miss my friend." - Bobby Bare, Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member

With the sorrowful passing of Robert Hunter, I sense the cool winds of fall sifting through the leaves of the Grateful Dead tree. As the leaves change colors and begin to drift back into the cosmos from which they came, it is ever so easy to become submersed within reflection.

So swift and bright, strange figures in light, float in air.”

Neal Casal, the fifty-year-old guitarist and songwriter, played his final act Saturday evening at the Lockn' Festival in Arrington, Virginia. Judging from the smiles of all those surrounding him onstage, nobody saw it coming.

Revered in the music community for his countless contributions to Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, Hard Working Americans, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, and Circles Around The Sun, not to mention his twelve solo albums, Casal was unknown commercially, but in high demand across the spectrum.

Throughout the years, few musicians have been able to curate raw energy, pure emotion and eloquent passion quite like Jeff Austin. The longtime mandolin player, frontman and smiling soul of Yonder Mountain String Band passed away, leaving a legacy of incredible music, memories and everlasting devotion to the bluegrass community.

Archived news