Frontman Kyle Brown chats about the development of Bigfoot Buffalo’s distinctive jam-band vibe, with the group performing fresh as well as familiar tunes in this exclusive studio session.
JUNE 8 UPDATE: Members of Bigfoot Buffalo made an appearance on Local Spins Live on News Talk 1340 AM (WJRW) on June 8, performing a brand new song, “High Noon Sun,” for the first time on the air. Check out a video of that performance below. Kyle Brown from Bigfoot Buffalo also announced that the band is turning tracks from this HopCat presents Local Spins Live at River City Studios session into an EP that will be released this summer.
THE BAND: Bigfoot Buffalo
THE MUSIC: Jam band-styled roots rock
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THE BAND: 8:15 p.m. Wednesday (June 8) at SpeakEZ Lounge in Grand Rapids as part of the Local Spins Wednesdays series.
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Capitalizing on a “nice tight-knit community” of West Michigan musicians, Kyle Brown assembled Bigfoot Buffalo from players with a passion for The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers, The Band, classic rock and a jam-band sensibility.
What emerged from that musical camaraderie is a band that takes to “mixing a whole bunch of genres together – that rootsy rock attitude mixed with a jam band that I feel like you don’t see too often,” the singer-songwriter and guitarist said. “I like to smash those two worlds together.”
Those comments were part of a one-hour interview and performance session recorded and filmed in front of a small studio audience at Grand Rapids’ River City Studios earlier this month as part of the HopCat Presents Local Spins Live at River City series. Listen to the full podcast here courtesy of River City engineer Austin Ruhstorfer, with a video of the session below, including Bigfoot Buffalo’s performance of two new songs.
PODCAST: Local Spins Live at River City with Bigfoot Buffalo
The group’s rootsy approach propelled its 2015 self-titled debut album, as well as new material written since last summer’s release, with the solidified lineup of Brown, drummer Charlie Merkel, bassist Michael Serota and guitarist Sean Stynes aiming to ramp up touring in 2016, “keep rolling and keep getting music out there.”
They’ll do that tonight (Friday) when they play a short set as part of the 17th annual Jammie Awards at The Intersection (performing at 6:28 p.m. on the main stage), following that on Saturday at Founders Brewing Co. with what’s billed as “The Big Big Big Show” featuring Bigfoot Buffalo, Big Dudee Roo and Big Sherb. That show starts at 9:30 p.m.; admission is $5.
(Bigfoot Buffalo is nominated in several categories at the Jammie Awards, including best album by a new artist. More than two dozen acts will perform Friday on two stages; get details and the full schedule in this Local Spins story.)
Brown says the band – which originally featured fiddler Michael Prokopchuk of The Waxies and mandolinist Evan Breithart – has allowed its music to “grow naturally” with songwriting that’s become ever more collaborative as its lineup has evolved.
“We like to explore musically through interpretation of Americana and roots rock kinds of songs,” said Brown, who grew up in Ada. “We put an improvisational spin on that. That’s how that jam band thing came to be.”
Simmering underneath the infectious riffs and extended jams that drive Bigfoot Buffalo’s live shows is the dichotomy within Brown’s commanding songs.
“I tend to write a lot about intangibles, philosophical type things, but a real world view of it,” he explained. “One thing I like to do a lot is have a fun jumpy song and have it be about something kind of down. It kind of makes you think – juxtaposing those two things together.
“I like to put the focus on everything: the mood, the music and the lyrics.”
VIDEO: Bigfoot Buffalo (Local Spins Live at River City Studios)
Video by Brennan Heldt and the River City Video Team
PHOTO GALLERY: Bigfoot Buffalo at River City Studios
Photos by Anna Sink
VIDEO: Bigfoot Buffalo, “High Noon Sun” (Local Spins Live)
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