FOLSOM — Last year Kenny Loggins performed at Harris Center/Three Stages for just one evening; it sold out immediately. This year he returns for three concerts, joined by an opening act with the Blue Sky Riders, a new trio consisting of Loggins, Gary Burr and Georgia Middleman. Tickets for these three concerts are selling very, very fast.
Loggins has been many things to many people over the past three decades — “a moving target” as he’s put it. In his time, Loggins has been a guitar-slinger with a psychedelic rock band, a hot young songwriter with a publishing deal, half of a legendary country-rock duo, a massively successful and accomplished solo artist, a sonic pioneer in the smooth jazz genre, a reigning soundtrack superstar, a rocker, as well as an enduring recording artist and live performer.
By any standard, Loggins’ commercial impact has been extraordinary; 12 of his albums have gone platinum and beyond. In a world of one hit wonders and fifteen minute sensations, Loggins has enjoyed hit songs in four straight decades — a remarkable testament to his exceptional craftsmanship and stamina.
Loggins was born in Everett, Wash., and moved to the Los Angeles area as a young boy. After a short and, in retrospect, rather surprising stint as a guitarist for The Electric Prunes, Loggins scored a job as a $100-a-week staff songwriter and penned four songs on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s 1970 album “Uncle Charlie and His Dog Teddy,” among them the classic “House at Pooh Corner.” Around this same time, Loggins caught the attention of former Buffalo Springfield producer and Poco member Jim Messina, then working as staff producer at CBS.
Originally, Loggins set out to record his solo debut with Messina behind the boards as his producer. As work progressed, Messina’s involvement increased and the album subsequently emerged in 1972 as Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina “Sittin’ In” — a gem that featured Loggins’ future standards “Danny’s Song” and “House At Pooh Corner” and quickly established this accidental duo as one of significant recording and touring acts of the 1970s.When Loggins & Messina split up in 1976, Loggins wasted no time in achieving solo stardom with such million-selling solo albums as “Celebrate Me Home,” “Nightwatch” (which included the hit “Whenever I Call You Friend” with Stevie Nicks), “Keep The Fire (This Is It)” and 1982’s “High Adventure” (“Don’t Fight It” with Steve Perry and Heart To Heart).
Loggins’ reputation as one of music’s outstanding vocalists was becoming well-established, and in 1980 he won the Best Male Pop Vocal Grammy for This Is It. As a songwriter too, Loggins continued to grow, a fact evidenced by his many inspired collaborations such as co-writing the 1979 Grammy-winning Song of The Year “What A Fool Believes” with his long-time friend Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers.
In the ’80s, Loggins became more famous than ever as the king of the movie theme songs, thanks to massive smashes like “I’m Alright” (from “Caddyshack”), “Footloose” (from Footloose), “Danger Zone” (from Top Gun) and “Nobody’s Fool” (from Caddyshack II). Loggins also continued to record albums that were introspective and deeply personal, including 1985’s “Vox Humana,” 1988’s “Back to Avalon,” 1991’s “Leap of Faith” (featuring “Conviction of the Heart,” a song Al Gore called “the unofficial anthem of the environmental movement”), “The Unimaginable Life” (1997) and 2003’s “It’s About Time.” During this same period, Loggins continued to take on new challenges like recording a Christmas album (1998’s “December”) and two successful and acclaimed CDs for children: 1994’s radiant “Return To Pooh Corner” and its worthy follow-up, “More Songs From Pooh Corner.”
In 2005 Kenny Loggins reunited with Messina to great surprise and considerable acclaim. As much personally as musically, the Sittin’ In Again tour allowed Loggins to rediscover an old friendship. It was so successful and inspiring that they took their show on the road once again in 2009.
Currently, Loggins is recreating himself all over again as part of the trio Blue Sky Riders.
The creative spark that eventually evolved into Blue Sky Riders was struck when two veteran singer/songwriters worked on their first song together. When Loggins, one of the premiere voices in modern popular music, joined forces with Gary Burr, one of Nashville’s most accomplished writers, on the well-received 2008 release “How About Now” they felt they sounded like brothers when they sang together. Loggins, looking for a creative step forward in his musical career, decided on the spot to form a band but wanted to add a third, a female voice. Burr, who has been named Songwriter of the Year by ASCAP, Billboard and NSAI and has worked with artists such as Juice Newton, Conway Twitty and Wynonna Judd, suggested singer/songwriter Georgia Middleman, who has worked with Keith Urban, Faith Hill and Martina McBride among others. Blue Sky Riders was born. All three veterans sing lead amid three-part harmonies.
Blue Sky Riders released their debut album, “Finally Home,” on their own record label, 3Dream Records, on Jan. 29, 2013.
Kenny Loggins and his fellow Blue Sky Riders will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 5, Tuesday, Aug. 6, and Wednesday, Aug. 7. Tickets are $49 to $69 with premium tickets available for $79. Tickets are available online at harriscenter.net or from Harris Center ticket office at (916) 608-6888 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and two hours before show time.