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Buffalo Summer at The Station, Cannock

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
UK tour for bluesy rockers
Welsh rockers Buffalo Summer have persuaded some very special guests to contribute to their forthcoming album, Desolation Blue.

Joining singer Andrew Hunt, guitarist Jonny Williams, bassist Darren King and drummer Gareth Hunt on the record are Peter Buck from REM, The Cadillac Three's Kelby Ray Caldwell and cellist Emma Bryden. Album producer Barrett Martin also couldn't resist the temptation to play some percussion, vibraphone and Fender Rhodes and Hammond organ on some of the tracks.

Peter Buck played 12-string guitar on the track The Bitter End and mandolin on Last To Know, while Kelby's lap steel guitar can be heard on the second single Hit The Ground Running, the follow-up to Everybody's Out For Number 1.

Emma played cello on Last To Know and Pilot Light. The album sessions lasted just five days, giving the disc a spontaneous edge.

Buffalo Summer, The Station Cannock, Desolation Blue, Andrew Hunt, Jonny Williams, Darren King. Gareth Hunt
Buffalo Summer (pic: Steph Byford)

Tracks from Desolation Blue, released on March 27, will be previewed on a UK tour that visits The Station in Cannock on March 6 and concludes on March 15 at The Patriot, Crumlin, Newport.

The roots of Buffalo Summer are in a small Welsh village just outside Neath, where brothers Andrew and Gareth Hunt and friend Darren King grew up.

"In Wales, music seems to be in your blood," Andrew explains. "As soon as you go to school, as soon as you go to nursery, the first thing you're doing is singing hymns. But aside from that, my very first musical memory, and one I still have an actual photograph of, is me playing a toy guitar with a red headband like Mark Knopfler from Dire Straits! My father played a lot of Dire Straits and he liked a lot of the Welsh bands too, like Budgie and Man, while my mother had a bit of a vinyl collection with a few bits of disco and a lot of Motown. So there was always a tune in the house."

When they were not kicking around a football, Andrew, Gareth and Darren enjoyed listening to the likes of Nirvana and Manic Street Preachers which inspired them to start their own band.

Andrew explains: "There was this thing in the mid to late-90s called Cool Cymru; you had the Manic Street Preachers, Stereophonics, Catatonia, Super Furry Animals, and there seemed to be a few bands coming out of small villages in Wales where there was high unemployment and no money. We had our own personal battles too, so another vital record for us, being from South Wales, was Word Gets Around by Stereophonics. There was a band out there singing about where we were from, with the same background as us, and making a success out of their lives. It was very inspirational, and we continued being immersed in music for everything really, solace, escape and also pure simple enjoyment."

Guitarist Jonny Williams now enters the story, says Andrew.

"Jonny came to Neath to go to music college around 2001/02. I was studying a different course there, but we were both in bands and we became friends on the local circuit. We were both in other bands for several years, just local stuff, having fun, having a good time. One night we started talking about The Black Crowes, and that was it, we were friends forever. It was around 2006 when Jonny and I would get a guitar out and jam a riff. I was a guitarist in my other band, not a singer, but one time we recorded a few things on his 8-track and I found myself singing.

"Jonny's house was up on a hill out of the town overlooking Swansea, so we'd sit out in the garden all summer, looking out over Swansea and the ocean, just jamming."

With the rest of the guys on board, the first (self-titled) album came out in 2013, self-released, and the band were offered a distribution deal with Cargo Records. Regular gigs soon followed and the band toured with Walking Papers, Ugly Kid Joe, Buckcherry and Skid Row. Producer Barrett Martin liked what he saw when he caught one of Buffalo Summer's performances and he agreed to work with them on their next album, Second Sun.

"We tracked everything live to get the vibe," says Andrew. "Jonny overdubbed a few solos and I overdubbed some vocals, but other than that, the songs have a great 'live' energy which we thought was important to capture."

Fans of classic rock warmed to the band's bluesy riffs, influenced by the likes of Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynryd and Free. They wanted more so it was back to the studio, with those special guests, for album number three. Those rock enthusiasts won't be disappointed with the result.

Buffalo Summer's 2020 UK tour dates:

March 6: The Station, Cannock;
March 7: The Tivoli, Buckley;
March 8: B2, Norwich;
March 10: The Black Heart, London;
March 11: Waterloo Music Bar, Blackpool;
March 12: Bannermans Bar, Edinburgh;
March 13: Nightrain, Bradford;
March 14: Corporation, Sheffield;
March 15: The Patriot, Crumlin.

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Why? New music from Buffalo Summer
When: Touring March 6 - 15, 2020
Where: The Station, Cannock, then touring
Cost: 9.35
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