Aside from having the sweetest voice in the industry for the past 30 years, Timothy B. Schmit is the cutest son-of-a-bitch to ever put on pants. Well, these days, I guess you'd say he's ruggedly handsome, but when I used to see him play with Poco, cute was the only word for it. The all-too-common disparaging remark for those of us back then who had hair down to the middle of our backs was, "Hey, you a boy or a girl?" I wish I had a gram of blonde Lebanese hashish for every time I heard that one. For most of us, it was pretty damn obvious, since God didn't make girls that ugly. But with Mr. Schmit, it was possible to actually imagine a tuck here and a tweak there and true love around the corner.
He was born October 30, 1947 in Oakland, CA. He was in bands in California from the time he was fifteen years old. One of his garage bands did some opening act gigs for Big Brother and the Holding Company (halfass warbler Janis Joplin's halfass band), Herman's Hermits (a must to avoid), Sonny and Cher and the likes. In 1970 he joined Poco.
Poco was a marvelous little band that we were listening to regularly back in the early days of hippiedom. They were formed in LA in 1968 and originally called themselves Pogo. Walt Kelly (or his lawyers) told them that they might want to rethink that band name, so they changed one letter. The original members were Richie Furay and Jim Messina (who had both been with the Buffalo Springfield), Rusty Young (steel guitar - the crucial instrument for country rock), George Grantham (drums) and Randy Meisner (bass). Messina would go on to join Kenny Loggins later in a joint project that made them a ton of money and lots of still-loyal fans.
Schmit replaced Meisner and stayed with Poco for seven years. They probably made a little money, but their records never really sold like you would have thought they were selling when you saw Poco play live. This band was phenomenal on a live stage. Pure quality. No mistakes. I saw them open up for the Allman Brothers one afternoon in a large basketball gym. That was one of the most musically rewarding days of my life. Duane was alive and well and Mr. Schmit was in wonderful form that day.
In 1977, he replaced Meisner again. This was in a little band called the Eagles. He joined them in the middle of the Hotel California tour. The Eagles took a long vacation from 1981 to 1994, and Schmit put out three solo albums during that time. I haven't heard any of them, and I doubt I'm missing anything. What he does best, just like Michael McDonald, is add the texture to the mix in the background. And he's done it with some of the best in the business. I heard his voice distinctly in 1978 when Marc Jordan's Mannequin became my favorite all-time album. He can also be heard on Terence Boylan's work around the same time.
For a short and very incomplete list of some of the other folks he's done the background work for, some playing the bass as well as singing, and some just vocal work:
Vince Gill has about the same range as Timmy, and you should try to get a copy of his version of "I Can't Tell You Why." It's hard to say if it's any better than Timmy's own. The elegant guitar solo is replaced with a sax break, but the background vocals will give you chillbumps as Mr. Schmit pleads with the lady of the song to,
Try to keep your head, girl.
Don't get caught in your little world.
Yeah, these songs Mr. Schmit writes himself are schmaltzy. They're easy listening. They're elevator muzak. And I get mushy every time I hear them.
I know of at least one person here who would love his version of Caroline, No.