Richie Furay on Buffalo Springfield, Life as a Pastor and Solo Artist
Buffalo Springfield were rehearsing for their short-lived 2011 reunion tour when Richie Furay began playing a guitar lick he’d just worked out. “Neil [Young] came over with a smile on his face,” says Furay. “He said, ‘New song, huh?’ I said, ‘Yeah!’ Stephen [Stills] and I both thought the reunion was going to last a little longer and there would be a new album at some point, but that didn’t happen.”
After Buffalo Springfield’s 2011 headlining slot at Bonnaroo, Neil Young turned his attention toward Crazy Horse, Stephen Stills went back to Crosby, Stills and Nash and Furay returned to his day job as the pastor of Calvary Chapel in Broomfield, Colorado. “I wasn’t sure I was ever going to record again,” he says. “Music just wasn’t the focus of my life, but these songs I began during the Springfield tour kept coming and I couldn’t sit on them.”
About two and a half years ago, Furay had enough material for a new album, and he flew to Nashville to cut his first LP since 2006’s The Heartbeat of Love. Working with guitarists Dan Dugmore and Chris Leuzinger, drummer Dennis Holt, bassist Michael Rhodes and keyboard player Pete Wasner, he recorded the basic tracks in just three days, then cut his vocals back in Colorado over a longer period of time.
He called the finished product Hand in Hand. “The album fits together,” he says. “Three songs in the middle, ‘Don’t Tread on Me,’ ‘Wind of Change’ and ‘Some Day,’ have political overtones to them. The others are either love songs or they look at my career. A lot of music on this record is for people our age. I’m not a kid writing about these things anymore. I’m writing it from the perspective of looking back rather than looking forward.”
Opening track “We Were the Dreamers” is a nostalgic remembrance of Poco, the country-rock group Furay founded after Buffalo Springfield split in 1968. “It’s been 40-some years, 1969,” he sings. “On that Troubadour stage it seemed like our time/Laurel Canyon in sunset, that’s where we called home/We made certain our music had a sound all its own.”
The cover image is a photo of Furay and his wife Nancy shortly after they met at a Los Angeles Buffalo Springfield concert in 1967. They’ve been together ever since and have four daughters and 12 grandkids. Their love story inspired the album’s title track. “We’ve been together 48 years,” he says. “It’s not a song about puppy love. It’s a song about people who have been through the trials and tribulations of life and have come out on the other side.”
Furay was inspired to write “Don’t Tread on Me” (not to be confused with the Metallica song of the same name) after 9/11, but it didn’t come together until a couple of years ago. “It’s about a guy disillusioned at the state of the world,” he says. “I just hear people talking on the radio and I can’t believe what they’re saying. I want people to come together. We’re so polarized, and people aren’t talking to each other.”