The use of music in the Traveler Chronicles has sparked a lot of conversation. This is the first in an occasional series of posts that talk about the music mentioned in the Traveler books, and why each song or artist was included.
Poco is one of the most fascinating groups in all of pop music. Originally formed by Richie Furay, Jim Messina, and Rusty Young from the ashes of Furay and Messina’s first group, the Buffalo Springfield (which also launched the careers of Neil Young and Stephen Stills), Poco originated the style of Country Rock that The Eagles would eventually make famous. I would even argue all of today’s Country is descended from these two groups, but that’s a discussion for another time.
In fact, The Eagles would reach into Poco not once, but twice, to hire a bass player who could sing high harmonies. Randy Meissner and Timothy B. Schmit would both start out with Poco and graduate to The Eagles.
The band personnel shifted throughout the Seventies. Founder Furay left early on, as did Messina, to begin his association with Kenny Loggins. Pedal Steel player Rusty Young would be the sole original member to continue, finally hitting it big with the hit singles “Crazy Love” and “Heart of the Night” in the Eighties.
But it’s the early and mid-career Poco that has always fascinated me, and no song more than “Too Many Nights Too Long,” from 1976’s Rose of Cimarron.
The tune is a 6:45 tour de force of pedal steel, mandolin and lyrics en español, written and sung by Paul Cotton, who took over as lead singer after Messina’s departure.
When I settled on the concept of Trav using music as a visualization tool to move between the different streams of reality, “Too Many Nights Too Long,” came immediately to mind. Even before the plot for the first Traveler book totally jelled, I knew that Trav would be hunting another version of himself, and El Hombre Escondido, The Hidden Man, of Cotton’s tune was perfect. After all, who is more hidden than another version of yourself?
In fact, the original title of Traveler was “The Hidden Man!”
Later, I decided the one word title “Traveler,” was a better choice. But Trav’s hunt for El Hombre Escondido is still conducted to the soundtrack provided by the seminal group that invented the Cournty Rock sound.
Listen to the complete Trav’s Favorites playlist on YouTube at this link.