Wednesday, August 26, 2020

I Want to Be Moe Like Charlie

Last night I had an epiphany.
Full transparency, I have, like many others, been having quite a rough time of it during 2020. Medical issues aside, the onslaught of bad news had wiped my ever-present smile completely from my face during a year that began with me having the audacity to post “I have a 2020 vision for success! This is going to be my year!” In the words of the late Little Richard, “Shut up!”

The year started off great. I was happy as a clam to attend the great Capricorn Studios relaunch in Macon in December. That seems like a lifetime ago. Same with the book signing I did here in Spartanburg with my friend Paul T. Riddle in January. Then came Covid-19. At first it seemed like a bad dream, but it was, and is real. Add to that the insanity of the world, the unbelievable racial profiling and outright murder of African Americans. Watching Lovecraft Country last night and seeing the way the black folks were treated by white police in the mid-1950’s really shook me to the core. The reason being, it is still happening, 65 years later. On the HBO series, three African Americans encounter some creepy horror movie monsters, but their encounters with Southern white folks are scarier than any monster.

So the killings, the violent protests that followed, along with the loss of jobs, closing of businesses, closing of movie theaters, an end to live concerts and fan attended sporting events – all of that began to wear me down. Badly. Add to that the loss of so many great entertainers and several close friends, it became a weight I wasn’t sure I could shoulder. Depression. Anxiety. Fear. They all came a calling.

After my friend Joe Greene died a couple of weeks ago out of the blue, I started obsessing about my own mortality. I was lying awake at night worrying about death. Yes, I was raised a Christian, and yes, I believe. Still, there was an innate fear that worked its way into my mind every night.
Last night I had a dream. I was talking to my parents, both of whom have been dead for many years, just sitting and talking, and in the dream, I told them that I was full of fear, dread and anxiety, but that I had somehow experienced an epiphany. The fear had washed away and I had come to realize that 63 is by no means a death sentence. Neither are health issues. We all have to die, but there’s absolutely no reason to fear death.

I came to the conclusion that I want to be more like my friend the late Charlie Daniels. Charlie stood up for what he believed in. He did everything in his power to help those in need, and he did his best to spread love and to share his faith to anyone who would listen. Charlie set quite a shining example of a life well lived.

For the rest of my life, whether I live to be 100 or if I burn out like a light bulb tonight, I am going to live every day as if it’s my last. I am going to practice love, more than ever before. I am going to strive to be slower to anger. I’m going to mind my own business. I am going to do better at practicing tolerance for human beings of different races, creeds, religions, political affiliations, or sexual orientation. I am going to walk five days a week. I am going to write every day. I am going to play guitar four days a week. I am going to get out of the house more, socially distance, with a mask, but I getting out of the Buffalo Hut. I am going to call friends. E-mail and texting just isn’t the same. I am going to hand write more letters and read even more books. I am going to strive to be more Christ-like, and be the best man I possibly can. Just like Charlie.

-Michael Buffalo Smith
  August 26, 2020

Saturday, August 15, 2020

New Video Interview with Billy Crain

Hi y'all! Please visit my new AMBASSADOR OF SOUTHERN ROCK You Tube channel for upcoming interviews and much more including the brand new conversation with Outlaws/Henry Paul Band guitar master Billy Crain! And PLEASE SUBSCRIBE to the channel to be notified of ALL new posts!

View it HERE!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Say it Ain’t So, Joe

When I was editor of EDGE Magazine in Greenville, SC back in 1991, it was some of the most exciting times of my entire life. My friend James Irwin and I started the free bi-weekly alternative entertainment tabloid that very year, along with help from Charlie Bergman and David Morris. I am sad to say that all three of these great guys would fall victim to the awful HIV demon and leave this life, never to be forgotten by those of us who knew them.
We had joined forced with a few like-minded Greevillians (we were from Tryon, NC at the time, except for Charlie, who hailed from my home town of Spartanburg). Among the many great Greenville folks working with us were the often-hilarious Julie Wickliffe Moss and her husband David (who bought EDGE our first computer!), Mickie Ansel, John Wicklife, Bethany Williams, the late sweetheart Gail Gray, Phillip “Two Beers” Knighten, Gary “X” Arajou, the incredible Millicent Howell (sales director) and many others. Another very important piece of the EDGE puzzle came a bit later when the extremely talented (and impossibly athletic) David Windhorst joined the fray.
Of course, there was one person we hired as a sales rep that caught my eye in a huge way, one Jill McLane Greene. Jill was a dynamo in the sales department and I truly believe she was the reason EDGE kept going for several years until it was sold to Creative Loafing. What a smile. What a southern accent! What beautiful blue eyes. Of course, I immediately fell in love. She told me that she was going through a divorce from her husband Joe, the father of her two tiny children, Benjamin and Hannah.
We began seeing one another. The road was a bit rocky at first, as these things can be during a divorce when one partner “moves on.” But all of that is, as they say, water under the bridge. Before long, Jill and I were running into Joe at all of Ben’s football, baseball and basketball games and at Hannah’s dance recitals and chorus concerts. I started getting to know Joe and found him to be a sweet, loving father and a good man, often very funny, like his father, Papa Greene, who I was also blessed to know before his passing a few years ago. In fact, I grew to loving the entire Greene family of Travelers Rest, SC.
During the years I was dating Jill, 1992-96, and after we married on March 31, 1996, I often spoke to Joe when he would come over to get the kids every other weekend and on Wednesday nights. Believe it or not, he gave me some great advice on life with his ex-wife. A few “pointers,” as it were that actually helped my relationship. Now tell me that isn’t a real man’s man?!
At Jill’s memorial after she passed, I was a bit uneasy. She and I had separated, but I never stopped loving her. Not for a minute. In fact, I held out for hope of a reunion. She and I had started emailing back and forth. She didn’t want me to tell anyone, because she had been dating another man, and she didn’t want anyone getting upset. I truly believe that had she lived, our stars would have re-aligned, and the Moonwoman would once again join with the Buffalo. But that’s another story for another time.
Back to the beautiful memorial service. As I said, I felt uneasy. That is, until Joe and his wife Sandy came in. During the service, I sat with Joe and the Greene family. They welcomed me like one of their own. I will never, ever forget that. Good folks, them Greenes. Joe and I both laughed at some of the slideshow images that were projected on the big screen. Images of his life with Jill and the kids, images of my life with Jill and the kids, a few of her with the new boyfriend. My heart was breaking, but seeing my former nephews Zak and Gabe, and other family members and friends made me feel so much love, and I loved seeing the outpouring of love for Jill. Again, I would not have been able to hold it together had it not been for Joe Greene that night. He was my touch stone. The kids were way too upset. Joe was the calm in the storm.
In later years, I would see Joe at birthday parties for the grand kids, and he was always the same Joe. Funny and kind. I truly realize just how blessed I have been in many ways. One huge blessing was my wife’s ex-husband becoming my friend. How many guys have that blessing?
When my Daughter in Law Austin tested me a few nights ago that “Papa Joe” had died, all I could do was weep like a 63-year old baby. That wonderful smile and kind spirit had moved on to be with his Dad and family and friends in Heaven. I could just see him fishing in the clouds with Papa Greene. Our loss is Heaven’s gain.

Friday, July 3, 2020

New Issue of KUDZOO Published!

An all new issue of KUDZOO magazine has been published! I hope y'all will read it and let us hear from you!

Issue 38 of KUDZOO features an exclusive interview with guitar slinger JACK PEARSON; An interview with former Atlantic Records and Capricorn Records Promotion Man DICK WOOLEY; Allman Brothers Author SCOTT FREEMAN; An archived interview with BONNIE BRAMLETT; Exploring Unreleased albums by the Allman Brothers and Sea Level; Timely articles on both Covid 19 Masks and Racism; Reviews of music, books, DVDs and much more! 

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Our New Issue and the Current Pandemic

Dylan said it best. “The times they are a changin.’” I am simply one among millions who will quickly say in all honesty we have never experienced anything like this in our lifetimes. The invisible menace struck seemingly in the night, and the next day we were forced to live in a new world. Innocent people were dying world wide at an alarming rate as the medical powers that be tried to find a cure, a vaccine, for the corovirus. Grocery stores were completely emptied and everyone was fearful of even going to the store. We were all ordered to stay home as the economy began to drop like a millstone. Sporting events had to be cancelled- all of them. Live concerts too. The last time something like this hit was 1917. It’s so easy to forget. Hopefully when we make it through this, we will never be caught off guard again.

If there has been anything positive to come from this, it’s been the coming together of people to help one another. Not just Americans, but folks world wide. That and the music. Everyone from local musicians like Ricky Godfrey and Shane Pruitt to huge stars like Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Kelly Clarkson and Amy Lee, there has been an unending stream of “living room” concerts, broadcast free over the internet. Many of these for me were sparks of sanity and hopefulness. I particularly enjoyed Amy Lee’s solo piano versions of he Evanescence hits as well as an intimate solo show by Paul Thorn. 

The music helps. But we have still been hit hard. We need to all ban together the be sure this never happens again. On one note, I must say that among the devistating loss of life from the virus were country music legend Joe Diffie and a personal hero of mine, John Prine. I truly believe John was one of the top five songwriters of all time. His songs had a profound effect on me throughout my life. As a performer, I have played many of his songs, at least twenty, including “Please Don’t Bury Me,” “Sam Stone,” “Illegal Smile,” “Angel from Montgomery,” and “Oldest Baby in the World.” As a fan, I can remember buying his new albums when they came out, many times at Horizon Records in Greenville, SC. Case in point, the day he released his most recent album last year, The Tree of Forgiveness, I stopped by Horizon and bought the CD. I put it in the auto deck and it remains there to this day. My official driving album.

I hope you all enjoy this new issue. I cannot recommend the new Outlaws album Dixie Highway strongly enough. Also, we were locked and loaded with a huge story on The Georgia Thunderbolts. The virus has slightly delayed their new album, but it’s coming, as is our article. Get ready to rock.

Until next time, y’all keep on rocking’!  

Read KUDZOO Magazine Issue 37 HERE

Saturday, February 8, 2020

New KUDZOO Magazine ROCKS!

Welcome to issue #36 of America’s Only digital Southern music and food magazine, KUDZOO! We sincerely hope you y’all dig it! This 9is our fattest issue to date! Ninety-one big pages! Thank you to all of our readers, supporters and advertisers who have helped us to grow like. . . like. . . like kudzu!

This issue is jam packed, from the cover story on the super fabulous party that was the grand “rebirth” of  Capricorn Sound Studios as Mercer Music at Capricorn in Macon. I am your man on the street, with a detailed report on all of the fun you missed if you didn’t make it! We have an in-depth exclusive interview with Pat Armstrong, the man who discovered and managed the original Molly Hatchet band.

And that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg of accomplishments this businessman has achieved! We have an interview with photographer Sidney Smith, the photographer who was allowed full access to the Allman Brothers band during their beginnings when he was just 16 years old! There is also a review of his awesome book in this issue, along with some other must read books! There is an Archived story on FAME Studios and interview with Rodney Hall from back when we first styarted out as GRITZ.

Don’t miss our reviews of restaurants, wine, concerts, film, DVD’s, CD’s, TV, and more, and our tributes to some great musicians we lost recently  There’s a “Road Trip” to Atlanta for the Mercer University Press Author Luncheon and we welcome Anthony Richardson to the staff, who writes a Travel column about a recent journey to Geneva! We cook up some good Indian food and present the music News while we’re at it! Now how much would you pay? ZERO! It’s all FREE! Yay!

Speaking of FREE, be sure to enter our big CHARLIE DANIELS BAND CONTEST! One lucky winner will get Charlie’s AUTOGRAPHED Fiddle, case and bow, along with Charlie’s signed memoir book and signed copies of two of his BEST CDs, as well as official guitar picks and more! Read the rules on page 72 and enter to WIN BIG from KUDZOO and the mighty CDB!


Thanks a bunch for reading! 
Until next time, y’all keep on rocking’! 

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Sound of My Voice

I finally got around to watching the Lind Ronstadt documentary, The Sound of My Voice, on CNN last night. Just to let you know how much I adore Linda, I first heard her voice way back in 1971 when I bought the album by the Stone Poneys, the band’s record that featured their Top 40 hit, “Different Drum.” I was blown away by this girl’s voice a long time before I ever saw a picture of her in a magazine or on TV.  Of course, after I did see her, I was head-over-heels in love. She had the most beautiful doe-like eyes, and those lips! Drop-dead gorgeous. The first time I heard her speak during an interview, her California girl accent just drew me in even more.

As the seventies ran on, I would buy every album she recorded, watching as she proved to the world that she could sing any kind of song, from country to rock to big band to Broadway to Mexican folk music. I virtually wore out my copy of Heart Like a Wheel and several others like Hasten Down the Wind. I would sit up until 1 a.m. to watch her on The Midnight Special and I still recall her being a guest on The Johnny Cash Show on TV. When I heard that there was a movie called FM coming out and she was in it, I showed up on opening day. My buddy Bill and I sat through the movie twice just to see her concert footage where she rocked “Poor Poor Pitiful Me” and the Stones’ “Tumbling Dice.”

The Sound of My Voice is an excellent look at Linda’s career, her romances with JD Souther and Jerry Brown, and working friendships with The Eagles, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Jackson Browne and others. There is plenty of performance footage and interviews to help tell her story. We hear portions of many of her huge Platinum hits like “When Will I Be Loved,” “You’re No Good,” “Get Closer,” “Long Long Time,” “Blue Bayou,” “Different Drum,” and many others.  

The end of the film details Linda’s contracting of Parkinson’s disease, which caused her to lose her singing voice. I cannot begin to imagine what it was like for someone whose entire life was singing to suddenly lose her voice. But Linda is one tough lady. She has somehow managed to deal with the loss with style and grace, and we are all the richer for the many, many great recordings and videos that remain to remind us of just how great she was. One of the very best singers of our generation.

-Michael Buffalo Smith