Buffalo's new album is available! MAKIN' IT BACK TO MACON from Michael Buffalo Smith was produced by legendary Capricorn Records producer Paul Hornsby (who also plays piano!) , and features special guests Tommy Talton (Cowboy), Billy Bob Thornton (Oscar and Golden Globe winning Actor/Director/Writer/Drummer/Singer), "The Georgia Songbird" EG Kight, along with drummer Towson Engsberg (Tommy Crain & The Crosstown Allstars), bassist Joey Parrish (Silver Travis Band), Guitarist Daniel Jackson (Silver Travis Band), guitarist Greg Yeary (Buff's long time band mate from Buffalo Hut Coalition) and Austin singer songwriter Billy Eli on acoustic guitar
The album is available at CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon and everywhere, or you can purchase directly from Buffalo if you'd like it signed! Just email Michael for details firstname.lastname@example.org Streaming on Spotify! Southern Fried Americans, Southern Rock and Blues! Get you some!
"Working on Makin' It Back to Macon was a sheer joy. You can always expect good, honest music from the Buffalo". –Paul Hornsby
“Listening to Michael Buffalo Smith’s release, Makin’ It Back to Macon, is proof of what I’ve always known about Michael, he has limitless love to give and gives it freely with humor, soulfulness and honesty in every song on this heartfelt, joyful set of songs. I am honored he invited me to help with his project and very happy for him to finally have it out there for all to enjoy! Want to smile and maybe have a tear or two trickle down your cheeks? Just give it a listen.”
- Tommy Talton
“With Makin it Back to Macon Michael Buffalo Smith is keeping the music of our beloved south alive! What an album! ( yes, it's an album , like we used to call it. . . ) But at the end of the day it's authentic and honest music, so if you're north of the Mason/Dixon or west of the Mississippi you'll feel it too. A lot of greats influenced him and they all shine through here." -Billy Bob Thornton
"Great southern fried tunes played by southern rock musician, author and icon Michael Buffalo and friends, who include Capricorn Records legends and at least one Oscar winning actor. This one is not to be missed!"
- Mojo Magazine
“Michael Buffalo Smith's new album Makin' It Back to Macon is just that: a foray into the depth and breadth that is Macon music...rock, country, blues, and everything that makes Macon what its legacy entails."
– Wildman Steve, Wildman Steve Radio, Auburn, AL
Makin’ It Back to Macon
Michael Buffalo Smith
Folks have been hankering for this sixth Michael Buffalo Smith album for 13 years. Talent at Smith’s level should never remain bottled that long. That’s not to say that the founder of The Southern Rock Hall of Fame and Museum didn’t otherwise thrive in the time; he’s always pushing the music and its culture. Smith’s six books, and countless magazine articles, interviews, and reviews, have been informative and entertaining. But all that activity can’t diminish the fact that his inspired ways with a song impress above all.
Earlier this year, Smith gave us a glimpse of what’s on his mind with The Austin Sessions, an EP featuring four songs recorded two years earlier and four states away. Highly recommended, it took the artist out of his realm, but not the realm from the artist.
Beyond that, Smith had a goal. To record these eleven new praiseworthy performances, he went directly to church—the church of Paul Hornsby, in the great Southern Rock mecca of Macon, Georgia. Hornsby produced classics by the likes of the Marshall Tucker Band, and played with Duane and Gregg Allman in the pre-Allman Brothers Band quintet, the Hour Glass. Who better then, to produce Makin’ It Back To Macon so meaningfully?
“Prologue” opens the album with spoken words recited by Smith’s close friend; the actor, film maker, and fellow rocker, Billy Bob Thornton. In Thornton’s frank voice, Smith’s tender and enthused thoughts provide living context. Smith’s songs, in his own deeply Southern, tuneful inflection, then sum up his life. The delight he finds in the soul food and the historic atmosphere at “Mama” Louise Hudson’s H&H Restaurant, for instance, radiates fondly in “Makin’ it Back to Macon.” Hornsby chimes away on piano, and Tommy Talton of Cowboy fame slices the song’s churning melody with his sharp slide guitar. Talton and Hornsby are just two among the many great players that grace the album with purpose.
In the dashing “Smell All the Roses,” Smith reminds us eloquently that the simplest of things generate the greatest joys and fulfilment. One can easily feel that he abides by his assertions. The exquisite country/folk of “Both Feet on the Ground” celebrates ideals of faith. Conversely in the darker “On a Still Cold Saturday” (which features such rich allegories as “The hangman sleeps soundly, with no trace of remorse”), Smith encapsulates the despair of our times.
For the woeful “Tired of Livin’ Blues,” Smith growls in a way that shows he truly knows the blues. As Talton alone lights up his acoustic slide beside him, that blues flourishes to the point of bliss for the listener.
“Epilogue: Reflections at 60”—another Billy Bob reading of Smith’s words—tenders earnest gratitude. Then, hidden at the climax, Smith cherishes his lifeblood by appending a 1973 recording of his grandma crooning wittily.
Makin’ It Back to Macon documents the big man with the huge heart and the boundless talent making a tremendous return to the music he loves.
ROAD TO JACKSONVILLE Mgazine, France July 2018
Michael Buffalo Smith, a multi-faceted artist (writer, creator of Gritz magazine, musician) and southern rock specialist, is back. Born in Spartanburg, South Carolina (the home of the Marshall Tucker Band), our man knows what he is talking about. It was a hell of a lot of years, though, that he had not released any record work.
In 2018, he largely made up for himself by being very prolific with two effective achievements. First, "The Austin Sessions," a four-track album recorded in Texas and tinged with country music as evidenced by "Painting her toenails" (a mid-tempo piece with a mandolin and an electric guitar background in style Waylon Jennings). "Empty eyes" turns to country-rock at the Outlaws while the southern ballad "Karl Childer's blues" is adorned with a beautiful slide. Finally, the southern country song "(She likes to ride a) fat boy" offers six harmonized strings.
Mister Michael then continued with a full album, "Makin 'it back to Macon". To do this, he has joined the competition of talented musicians and some prestigious guests (Paul Hornsby on keyboards and Tommy Talton on guitars). A spoken prologue describes Macon as the cradle of Otis Redding, Little Richard, and the Allman Brothers Band. The famous restaurant of Mama Louise is quoted and the following title is dedicated to this legendary cook ("Makin 'it back to Macon", a southern rock medium with a piano solo and a slide hyper southerner). Country music remains in the limelight with "Smell all the roses" and his friendly dobro solo. A certain Marshall Tucker Band spirit emerges from the acoustic country title "Both feet on the ground". Also note the good rock "My baby drives Mercedes Benz" and "Johnny Taylor's doin 'alright" (which sounds a little more "fifties"). The acoustic blues "Tired of livin 'blues" begins with a crack of old vinyl before the very good performance in fingerpicking of Michael alone on a dry guitar slide (it will resume this formula with a single guitar scratch on the song "Woman in the moon").
At the end of the record, Michael thanks listeners and we hear the voice of an old woman who sings an old tune of folklore (maybe Mama Louise?). A typical southern perfume floats on this "Makin 'it back to Macon" but was it useful to specify it? I think everyone understood that. As the musicians of the Marshall Tucker Band proclaimed in 1983, "Greetings from South Carolina! "
“Folks, this is a great, great CD. [Makin’ it Back to Macon] There’s a little bit of everything on it. Michael Buffalo Smith outdoes himself once again. I see some of these songs to be played on the radio while others have the potential to be added to movie soundtracks. This is one of Buff’s best albums to date.
BTW, the Austin Sessions EP is quite good, too. Four very different songs, all of them excellent.” -Bob Nosbisch. Las Cruces, NM
“Michael, your album is fantastic! Exquisite, bluesy song craft, tons of heart, 1000% American glory through and through. I am proud to know you, proud to recommend this record to everyone! You are an American treasure. I cannot say enough to praise, Makin' It Back to Macon. Music with heart, soul, grit, and a cool beard. Bonus for Planet Billy Bob Fans: a certain Southern actor opens and closes the album for Michael. A must for everyone!”
-Amelie Frank, Webmaster for Billy Bob Thornton
“I’m very honored that Michael included me in the special thanks on his new CD, and more flattered that he features his Wall guitar in the art work. Thank you brother, I am truly humbled. Y’all really should order a copy.”
-Bruce Wall, Wall Artistic Guitars
“All's well in Spartanburg, SC.
Michael "Buffalo" Smith sent me an EP and CD of his new releases to check out, so I did. Although I've never met Buff in person, we met through mutual friend, Bekka Bramlett, he has reviewed my cd's in the past and also interviewed me on his show many years ago and I found him very knowledgeable of Southern music. I do not use the term "southern rock" as rock & roll was developed in the South so it seems redundant. Buff has got it in his blood whether he is writing about others or making his own music.
His EP, The Austin Sessions, is a 4 song EP that he did in Austin Texas with some fine pickers and producers, featuring "Karl Childers Blues," a song for a movie character from "Slingblade," and "She Likes to Ride a Fat Boy," about a girls love of a Harley, both I think are very cool. Great job on it!
The CD, Makin'It Back to Macon, is a 9-track cd with a prologue and epilogue spoken by Billy Bob Thornton, which is very cool. This record was done in Macon Georgia and produced by the talented, Paul Hornsby and features former partner of my good friend and songwriting partner Scott Boyer(rip) in Cowboy, Tommy Talton, and a whole lot of fine players.
The songs that Buff writes are true grit, with a mix of blues, rock, country and soul, the mainstay of Southern music. He'll never make it onto the pop charts, but he does his songs with the fire that burns inside him and the stories are straight out of his life. Standouts, in my opinion, are the title track, “Smell the Roses” and “Both Feet on the Ground,” all from Buffs heart and pen. Like us all, he's had the good and bad happen in his life, but what's cool is, he writes about ‘em.
I've never done a review before but decided to break my rule, ‘cause Buff deserves it. Good luck Buff on the rest of your journey and keep the music flowing! You did Good!!
- Tommy Miles, Merlin Sights Records, Linda, California
Japan: Tommy Talton Plays on New Michael Buffalo Smith CD
ABOUT "MAKIN' IT BACK TO MACON"
This album has been over ten years in the making. Well, not the actual making, but the planning, says South Carolina recording artist Michael Buffalo Smith. My last album, Something Heavy, was recorded and released in 2005. For those keeping score at home, that’s thirteen years ago. As far back as 2008 I was planning to do a new record, but as they say, “life got in the way.” I had written the title track, mostly, and I had a vision of the album being produced by the great Paul Hornsby, the Capricorn Records guru who produced all of the first hit albums by hometown heroes The Marshall Tucker Band, along with albums for The Charlie Daniels Band, Wet Willie and many others from my pool of heroes. I didn’t even know Paul at the time. I had interviewed him for my Gritz magazine, but it would be several more years and a couple of more interviews before I actually started feeling like he was my friend. Now I am in the middle of working with him on his biography. How cool is that?
I also dreamed of asking some of the old Capricorn and other Southern Rock artists to do guest spots of the record. The first one I wanted to ask was founding Cowboy member (and one of my favorite singer/songwriter/guitarists) Tommy Talton. After one of his gigs at the Melting Point in Athens in about 2008, I just came out and asked him. I even told him about the blues song and my idea of just having him play some old-school Robert Johnson type slide and me singing, maybe one of us stomping a foot. To my surprise, he agreed. Flash forward ten-plus years and my “dream” album is done, with Hornsby producing and playing piano and Talton doing some mighty fine guitar work.
Some of my other dreams did not make the cut. I had asked my buddy Jakson Spires (Blackfoot) about playing drums on a song or two and he was all in, but sadly he passed away. I also had commitments from Marshall Tucker Band guitarist George McCorkle (who played on my album) as well as two members of Grinderswitch, Dru Lombar and Larry Howard, all of whom we lost too early. I did manage to be blessed with some fine musicians including my long time band mate from the Buffalo Hut Coalition, Greg Yeary, a great guitarist who also wrote one of the songs and co-wrote another; Joey Parrish and Daniel Jackson of The Silver Travis Band and Towson “Lefty” Engsberg on drums, who was a member of the late Tommy Crain’s band The Crosstown Allstars (and still is); Austin, Texas honky-tonker Billy Eli (who recently co-produced my EP The Austin Sessions); and the magnificent Georgia Songbird herself, E.G. Kite on backing vocals. On day one, we wound up without a bass player, and a Macon bassist named Hal Brandstetter kindly played bass on the first track. Add to that the magical piano work of my producer Paul Hornsby, and we had quite a nice group pf players. I was, and am, honored.
While I brought the songs to the table, the recording was a group effort, with ideas and input from everyone and all of us deferring to Paul Hornsby for the final decisions. As it should be.
As an interesting aside, the cover photo for the album features my step daughter, Hannah Greene and my first-born grandchild, Zoe. As I mentioned earlier, I was planning to do this album ten years ago, and that included the cover idea. My late wife, Jill McLane, counted photography among her hobbies. And had shot the cover photos for three of my previous albums as well as hundreds of photos to accompany articles I had written for magazines. In 2008, she took Hannah and Zoe to a backroad location and shot a series of photos with her digital camera. Several months ago, I came to the somewhat startling realization that I didn’t have any idea where those photo files were. I remember backing them up a few different was, including on CD, but no matter how hard I looked, the files were nowhere to be found. I had given up and was going to reshoot with another model. We were over halfway finished with the recording when a random search of my computer for something totally different lead me to a folder marked with a date in 2008. That’s all. I opened it to find all of the Hannah photos. Some call it luck. I call it a blessing.
Michael Buffalo Smith Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Greg Yeary Electric Guitar
Joey Parrish Bass
Towson Engsberg Drums
Paul Hornsby Piano
Tommy Talton Electric and acoustic guitar, Slide, Dobro
Billy Bob Thornton Spoken Word
Daniel Jackson Acoustic Guitar, backing Vocal
EG Kight Backing Vocal
Hal Brandstetter Bass on “Makin’ it Back to Macon”
ABOUT MICHAEL BUFFALO SMITH
Michael Buffalo Smith was born and raised in Spartanburg, SC, the home town of The Marshall Tucker Band (as well as Hank Garland, The Sparkletones, Peabo Bryson and many others). He founded the southern music magazine GRITZ in 1998, and in 2011 launched the digital music magazine KUDZOO. Smith has had nine books published on music history, and this is his seventh music album. He is the founder and Executive Director of the Southern Rock Hall of Fame & Museum, a radio host, an actor and a double-naught spy. (Okay, so I made the last one up.) He writes freelance for various publications, and has written liner notes for artists including Dickey Betts, Charlie Daniels, Marshall Tucker, The Mighty Jeremiahs, Billy Eli, the Silver Travis Band and more.