Richie Furay spent six decades building a rock' n roll career that earned him a spot in the Rock' N Roll Hall of Fame. Now at 78 years old, he's shifting his sights to country music.
Furay is most known as a founding member of Buffalo Springfield, and his friend and producer Val Garay approached him with the idea of a country covers project. Furay was unsure, but when the men listed their song ideas for potential inclusion, the same song topped both of their lists – John Berry's "Your Love Amazes Me."
"I knew we were onto something, and we could go ahead," Furay said. "From there, we just went ahead and picked songs that just really had somehow touched my heart."
Furay's 12-song album "In the Country" is available now and includes the Ohio native covering songs by Keith Urban, Lonestar, Lee Ann Womack, Alabama, Garth Brooks and more.
"They were just songs that just had some special meaning to me," Furay said. "I thought, 'I'm gonna give it a try.' It was pretty much of a challenge simply because these are all familiar songs to people, and they know that they know the originals. We didn't want to do karaoke. We wanted to make them our own. But I think we did a good job. It was a lot of fun."
Furay said he chose "Your Love Amazes Me" because it was one of the songs that was popular when he was first introduced to "Nashville country." He remembers he was fishing in Montana when the song came on the radio, and as he drove along, the reception bobbed in and out. But, he was captivated by Barry's voice.
When Furay got home, he called the radio station to request the song – something he had never done before. Then he went out and bought the album.
"I've just loved the song ever since," he said. "This song is so simple and simplistic in its lyrics, and yet they are so deep."
Furay's dad first introduced him to country radio as a child. The singer loved the openness of the genre's songs and the power of the artists and the players. Rock' N Roll grabbed Furay's ear soon after, and his professional path was set.
In the late '60s, Furay launched his band Poco, which he says is a founder of the country-rock subgenre. Given that experience, he said, a country covers album falls squarely in his skill set.
"I just hope people listen to the lyrics, listen to the songs and enjoy them," he says of the album. "I hope there's not comparisons. I'm not looking to be compared with Keith Urban's 'Somebody Like You.' I mean, this guy's a great star, and I'm just covering songs that I really like. I hope people can just really grab on and identify with the music. I just made my own little playlist. You know, that's what you do today."