The Austin Sessions
April 2018 Press Release
The Austin Sessions (Dreaming Buffalo) is the first release from Spartanburg, SC artist Michael Buffalo Smith since 2005's Something Heavy. The four song EP contains songs written by Smith that include "Painting Her Toenails," a song written several years ago after observing his wife sitting on the front porch of their house late one night, sipping wine and painting her toenails. The only light available was reflecting from the huge Harvest Moon overhead, which inspired the song.
"Empty Eyes" was written in the 1980's but never recorded for release until now, and "Karl Childers Blues" was written about the main character in Buffalo's favorite movie, Slingblade. The song is dedicated to Buffalo's buddy, the actor and screenwriter who created Karl, Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton.
"She Likes to Ride a Fatboy" is a song about a woman and her obsession over Harley Davidson motorcycles. What did you think it was about?
The session took place in Austin, Texas in December 2016 at Green Garage Studio, and was produced by local heroes Billy Eli and Jim Hemphill, both of whom also played on the album, along with Joey Parrish (Silver Travis Band) on bass and Michael McGeary (Jerry Jeff Walker) on drums.
Smith has previously released five albums, and is a respected journalist and author, founder of Gritz magazine as well as Kudzoo magazine. His eighth book, From Macon to Jacksonville, will be published in October, and a new album, Makin’ it Back to Macon, produced by the legendary Paul Hornsby, will be released in May.
The Austin Sessions EP is available for download from CD Baby, iTunes and other online outlets, and physical copies of the CD will be available by mid-April at CD Baby, Amazon or directly from the artist.
For review and airplay copies, write firstname.lastname@example.org. Buffalo is also available for media interviews in support of the release.
Tom Clarke, KUDZOO Magazine, May 2018
The Austin Sessions
Michael Buffalo Smith
As a youngster in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Michael Buffalo Smith loved pop culture in general, but really thrived on Southern Rock music, especially the peerless songs of his hometown heroes, The Marshall Tucker Band. Smith made it his life’s mission to propagate the genre in any way he could. Capricorn Rising: Conversations In Southern Rock, his fascinating book of interviews, shows just how much respect he’s earned from many of Southern Rock’s iconic players. But besides his avocations as a prolific author, founder and editor of several magazines, and the curator of the Southern Rock Hall Of Fame and Museum; the man’s a damn fine singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Finally back at it following a 13-year hiatus, The Austin Sessions EP reintroduces an artist in peak form. Plus, its four original songs serve as a very worthy prelude to Makin’ It Back to Macon, Smith’s upcoming full-length album of entirely different tracks, cut recently with renowned producer Paul Hornsby (more on that in a future issue). Smith travelled to Austin at the tail end of 2016 to record these numbers, and worked with a quartet of local champs including producer and guitarist Billy Eli. The set begins on the great country & western melody of “Painting Her Toenails,” a light, tender ditty written for the love of his wife as he watched her self-pedicure by the light of the moon. Smith sings in a voice high in emotion, but even in tone. It’s deeply Southern and lonesome, and ideal for the songs at hand. With “Empty Eyes,” the band conjures an image of the sweeping Southwestern plains, and thoughts of Tucker guitar marvel Toy Caldwell by Jim Hemphill’s tasty leads. Smith conceived “Karl Childers Blues” quite cleverly on the basis of the lead character in his close friend Billy Bob Thornton’s unforgettable movie, Sling Blade. The song’s soulful, haunting refrains rightly capture the isolation, sadness, and sacrifice of the subject. At the opposite end of the spectrum, in the easy riding “She Likes to Ride a Fatboy,” Smith sings with tongue in cheek of a lady who craves those Harley Davidson’s, and perhaps something a little more risqué on the side. Southern, Texas, country, and serious talent—the definition of some great American music. What more do you need to know?
Angelo Saska; Americana Today
The Austin Sessions
Michael Buffalo Smith
For his first new recordings since 2005’s Something Heavy, South Carolina singer-songwriter Michael Buffalo Smith journeyed to Austin, Texas to record a four song EP that is different from anything he has recorded in the past. These tracks have been washed in the blood of Texas, with obvious influences shining through from the plethora of great Texas singer songwriters.
Influences no doubt channel down through Smith’s producers, Texas honkytonk heroes Billy Eli and Jim Hemphill. Eli brought in drummer Michael McGeary (Jerry Jeff Walker), and Smith brought along friend and former band mate Joseph Parrish (The Silver Travis Band) for bass duties.
Smith has been performing all of these songs in concert for many years, mostly solo with only his guitar. Here, the songs are delivered with a more Texas/country/Americana vibe that even washes over “Empty Eyes,” a song that was similar to Dire Straits in a former life, branding it with a red hot “Austin” branding iron.
“Painting Her Toenails” is a simple, yet brilliant lyric, taken from an observation of his soul mate at a single moment in time, on a fall evening in Upstate South Carolina, talking on the phone and painting her toenails under the light of a full moon, while “Karl Childers Blues” is a song written after being taken by the character Karl in the Billy Bob Thornton movie, Slingblade.
“She Likes to Ride a Fatboy,” is loaded with double entendres, a song about Harley Davidson motorcycles and biker chicks. It’s a funny and fun song that is sure to become a favorite of bikers everywhere.
These four tracks shine a light on Smith as a songwriter who refuses to be classified. As he says, “the same hands” write rock and roll songs, blues, country and gospel. It’s all according to his mood at the time. Obviously, he has been in a fun-loving mood lately. Good singing, good playing from Smith, Hemphill, Eli, Parrish and McGeary. A very nice snapshot of a talented South Carolina singer songwriter.