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Buffalo Roaming: Day Two, Billy Bob and The Boys in Huntsville

Posted: Aug 02, 2008

Penne woke me up at 5 a.m. Apparently, people on the river are early birds. I mumbled and grumbled and she made a pot of Boxmasters coffee, then cooked some good Southern breakfast, eggs and bacon, grain toast and fresh fruit, the blueberries were awesome.

After breakfast, and watching the fish jump in the river for a while, I headed next door to hang out for a bit with Billy C. Farlow, before pointing the car towards Huntsville.

Once in Rocket City, I rode over to Merrimack Hall so I’d know where it is, then I checked in at the Hilton with plans of taking a nap. My three hours of sleep weren’t gonna get it. Oddly enough, I never met up with that illusive nap. I was making calls, doing e-mail and blogging, and pretty soon I got a message from Billy Bob’s manager Lisa Roy that we were meeting around 4:30 for soundcheck, so I hit the showers, dressed, ran down my check list, and was in the wind.

Upon arrival I pulled to the back of Merrimack Hall, where the two tour buses were parked, and several cops were hanging out. The first person from the band I saw was Bubba Bruce, the drummer, and we shook and said our hellos. Then I met Alan Jenkins, the owner of the hall. What a nice cat. (His wife Debra is equally Southern sweet.) And a rock and roller just like me! He pointed me in the right direction and I was off and up the back stairs to the dressing room area.

Merrimack Hall was built in 1898 and was the company store for Merrimack Textiles. It was purchased in 2007 by Alan and Debra, and made into a theatre and concert hall. A very nice one.

Inside the dressing room area I ran into band member Brad Davis and very soon, all of the band guys were in there. I was happy to see Billy Bob’s sweet assistant Kristen, and to finally meet his manager, Lisa Roy, who was just as kind and sweet as I had imagined from our countless e-mails. All night long she was introducing me to everyone. It was great.

My pal Dick Cooper came in with “The Leaning Man of Alabam’” Donnie Fritts, and we hung for a few minutes. Then it was time for soundcheck. I stood front and center, leaning on a guard rail while the band ran through a song. At the end, Billy Bob put his hand over his brow to squelch the spotlights, and to see me standing there. “Buffalo!” he said, shooting a peace sign. “How are you buddy?” “Great, I said. Except your Cardinals really put a hurtin’ on my Braves.” I knew that would make him laugh, and it did. The band was tuning and Billy Bob stepped up to the mic and in a voice as strong as a baseball announcer says, “Ladies and gentlemen, Columbia Recording Artist, Michael Buffalo Smith!” I laughed, “Thank’s for the record deal, Billy Bob.”

They ran through another song, and then I got the thrill of a lifetime. Billy Bob says, “Buffalo, you want to jam one with us?” I was blown away. “Come on up man.” Then he sat down at the drum kit. Hell yeah.

So I did. Mike Butler handed me his baby blue Telecaster, and I kicked off “Can’t You See.” I looked at Billy Bob and he was grinning. The man loves Southern Rock as much as I do. It was great fun singing and playing Toy Caldwell’s signature song with The Boxmasters. I looked down front and Mike was taking pictures. Thanks brother, you know how special that is to me. Venue owner Alan Jenkins was grooving it seemed, and he later thanked me and said “I love that song.” All of the band made me feel like one of their own. An experience for the books. Billy Bob comes down from the drum riser and says, “That was fun Buffalo. You sounded great.” All I could muster was “So did you, bro.”

I must have been introduced to a hundred people, all of them great. Crew people with Billy Bob, venue personnel, fans and friends- Lisa Roy, Kristen and Billy Bob were introducing me left and right, and it was just a great, large time.

We all sat down to dinner. I sat beside musician Marty Rifkin, another really nice, really talented cat. I was really excited to learn of his work with Bruce Springsteeen on several albums I have been enjoying for many moons.

Billy Bob joined us, and was having some good ol’ pulled pork, and later he said to me, “Buffalo, next time you see me with a plate full of BBQ pork, slap that shit out of my hand.” While the food was great, the combination of eating and the back to back live sets didn’t quite set well. Of course, you couldn’t tell by his performance, which was great.

The show was one for the books. Click here to read my review. Tomorrow, I’ll report on tonight’s show and Billy’s Q&A session. Y’all come back now, ya hear?

Keep it Real. Keep it Southern.
Buffalo

 

PHOTO RETROSPECTIVE

All Photos by Buffalo except where noted. 

Billy Bob and Donnie Fritts.

 

Billy Bob the rock star.

 

Me and my friend Lisa Roy. And THAT'S why it's good to be.....me!
(Photo by Brad Davis)

 

Boxmasters, Brad, Marty and Bubba.

 

Mr. Thornton and me. (Photo by Donnie Fritts)

 

Donnie Fritts and Lisa Roy.

 

Always working! Billy's assistant Kristen Scott, a real sweetheart!

 

Buddy Holly or Boxmaster? Mike Butler!

 

Bubba's  hair!

 

Brad's cool kicks. (He says it also stands for "bluegrass music.")

More Tomorrow!

 

 

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coconut1955 says...

You lead a charmed life, Michael Buffalo.

elaine1987 says...

Great article and pix Buffalo! It was wonderful meeting you, and hearing you play with Billy Bob was an added treat. You are one good singer and guitar picker my friend! They were so good and also so darn nice to meet, like you. God bless. Billy says tell Buff hi and he was channeling the spirit of Toy Caldwell and Billy Bob knew it!

michaelbuffalo says...

You got it, Copperhead. LOL.

copperhead says...

Just another day in paradise

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