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Michael “Buffalo” Smith: A South Carolina Writer’s Take On Southern Rock And More


By Brian M. Howle

Michael "Buffalo" Smith.

We southerners are a unique breed, in all humbleness and honesty.  And the way we are perceived is often multi-layered and complex, for a geographically and stereotypically pigeonholed group of folks.  Sometimes it’s disarmingly charming, sometimes it’s laden with humor, and sometimes it’s brutally honest. But then again, so is life.

And if it happened in music, in the genre of Southern Rock, and more particularly, thru the eyes of a southern renaissance man – it was probably performed, covered, experienced, and written about by Michael “Buffalo” Smith.

Smith is an author, music journalist and musician living in Greenville, SC. He grew up down the road in Spartanburg during the heat of the seventies Southern Rock boom at a time when his hometown heroes The Marshall Tucker Band were at the top of their game. Even then Buffalo was sowing the seeds that would one day find him referred to as the “Ambassador of Southern Rock.”

Buffalo worked many jobs as newspaper editor, features writer, columnist, sports reporter, layout and more. He also logged several years as a radio air personality while singing and playing his own music and recording five albums that featured many of his high school era heroes, including Bonnie Bramlett, Pete Carr, George McCorkle, Tommy Crain and Tommy Talton.

In 1998, Buffalo founded the online magazine GRITZ and began a ride that lasted over 13 years, including three years as a glossy print magazine. During the GRITZ years, Buffalo conducted countless interviews and wrote hundreds of features, reviews and columns/blogs. When CMT needed a Southern Rock authority to appear on their Outlaw Country and Southern Rock special, they enlisted Buffalo. He would later appear on the documentary section of the Shout! Factory release Live from the Garden State by The Marshall Tucker Band.

In 1997 Buffalo’s first book was published by Marshall Tucker Entertainment of Beverly Hills, CA. Carolina Dreams: The Musical Legacy of Upstate SC was a history of the MTB and all the other great music that came from the region. The book includes lots of great photos and history on The Marshall Tucker Band (and all the bands that they had prior to MTB), Garfeel Ruff (featuring the amazing Rickey Godfrey), Artimus Pyle, Hank Sugarfoot Garland, Esquerita, Marshall Chapman, David Ball, Don Reno, Aaron Tippin and many more… Star tributes to both Toy and Tommy Caldwell, many one on one interviews. Foreword written by Charlie Daniels and an introduction by Marshall Tucker’s Doug Gray.

His second book, 2006’s Outlaws, Rebels & Renegades, was drawn from over seven years worth of published interviews, “Outlaws” includes some of the best interviews conducted by Smith for GRITZ Magazine (as well as other publications like Goldmine and Hittin The Note) with members of The Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker Band and many more.

His most recent release is The Brown Box: Remembering Greenville Memorial Auditorium. This is the history a S.C. venue that, although it was closed and imploded in the early ’90s, still holds a lot of happy memories for many people. It was the home of Monday night wrestling and the site of many outstanding concerts including the final performance by the original Lynyrd Skynyrd band. The fans, the stars and the employees were interviewed for this little labor of love.

He currently has a memoir book in line for publication called Prisoner of Southern Rock with a foreword by Billy Bob Thornton, which will be published by Mercer University Press in September, 2012.

And for current interviews with the legends of Southern Rock and more, tune in his online radio show – The Buffalo Radio Show, Sundays at 7 p.m. at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/michaelbuffalo.

More than a musician, writer and historian, Michael is a cherished treasure for those who grew up with music as an integral part of their lives.  He is a damn fine man, an even finer friend – and we are all the better for his presence.

For more on Michael or to order one or all of his books and other merchandise, check out http://www.universalmusictribe.com

This article was also published in Alternatives NewsMagazine, Vol. XXVI No. 9, Jan. 26 – Feb. 9, 2012.

 

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Legendary Paul Williams’ Benefit Concert At Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame July 21


By Brian M. Howle

Too often, we hear of the tragic results of those afflicted with the horrors of alcohol and other drug addictions, and shake our heads as to what we could posssibly do to help.

Fortunately, there are those who have faced those demons and survived, who then find a way to get that help.

And legendary performeer Paul Williams is, thankfully, such a person.

Williams’ benefit concert for the Association of Recovery Schools (ARS takes place July 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (Foster Theater) in Cleveland, Ohio.

This special event stars Hall of Fame songwriter, Paul Williams. Paul is an Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe winner. He is President & Chairman of the Board of ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). ASCAP is the first and leading U.S. performing rights organization, representing the world’s largest repertory totaling over 8.5 million copyrighted musical works and is the only U.S. performing rights organization owned and governed by its nearly 400,000 writer and publisher members.

This is an exclusive concert to celebrate and support the work being done at The Association of Recovery Schools. ARS advocates for the promotion, strengthening, and expansion of secondary and post-secondary programs designed for students and families committed to achieving success in both education and recovery. Too often, students in recovery from alcohol and other drug addictions return to their former school and are faced with the same environment that lead to their addiction. ARS exists to support such schools which, as components of the recovery continuum of care, enroll students committed to being abstinent from alcohol and other drugs and working a program of recovery.

As a bonus, after the concert, you will have access to all seven floors of the 150,000 square-foot museum and exhibits (a $22 value).

Benefit tickets are $75, and include the private performance by Paul Williams plus access to the museum/exhibits after the show.

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Dragonforce Reveal New Singer


By Amy Sciarretto

Dragonforce with new lead singer, Marc Hudson.

UK based metal heroes DRAGONFORCE have announced that their long search for a new vocalist is finally over. After entries from thousands of hopefuls across the globe, the shredmasters supreme welcome 23-year-old Marc Hudson to the band to fill the boots left by ZP Theart, who parted ways with the band in March of last year.

“I’m really excited about being a part of the DragonForce family,” said Hudson. “It’s always been my dream to dedicate my life to making music. I’m going to bring all the power and emotion I can to the songs, and help make the killer new record the fans have been waiting for!”

Born in Oxford England, Hudson was picked from the thousands of applications via a number of impressive video auditions and live performances, which left the rest of the band in no doubt that they’d found their man. Since the age of 16, Hudson has been building his vocal skills, gigging with bands in the UK underground scene, developing a powerful style with influences which include Bruce Dickinson, Michael Kiske and Sebastian Bach.

Said founding member and guitarist Herman Li: “After almost a year of searching around the globe, it’s great to be able to finally tell our fans the good news. Marc’s expressive and melodic vocals are sounding phenomenal on the new songs, adding another dimension to the DragonForce sound that I am sure all the fans will love.”

The band has been working on a new album since early 2010, recording in various studios in California, London and the South of France. The follow up to 2008’s hugely successful Ultra Beatdown album will be highly anticipated, with top 10 and top 20 chart positions all over the world and a Grammy Nomination in the United States setting the precedent. With Hudson brought into the fold, the band is enjoying an injection of enthusiasm and hunger that sees Dragonforce prepared to return more focused and determined than ever before.

“Everyone in the band is extremely excited about how the new material is shaping up.” Continued Li. “We haven’t felt this kind of energy in the band for a long time. We can’t wait to unleash the next DragonForce album later this year.”

The new album is expected to hit the shelves in September, with a full world tour to follow.

For more information, visit the website:  http://www.dragonforce.com/

 
 
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