Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Buffalo 40 – "Troublin' On My Mind" (2018)

Rolling ’round the town
Tryin’ to find myself a warm bed

Rich McPhee is the frontman for Buffalo 40, a Washington, DC-area group whose website says its influences include classic rock, funk, blues, and modern rock.  

I met Rich a few weeks ago at a local brewery.  I was sitting at the bar and minding my own business, when Rich  picked up a guitar and started singing a series of songs by artists whose LPs my college classmates and I played almost to death back in the early 1970s.

Rich McPhee performing solo
 at Saints Row Brewing
I’m talking Neil Young, and the Rolling Stones, and Van Morrison, and the Allman Brothers, and Delaney & Bonnie (and friends), and Lynyrd Skynyrd, and America.  (Don’t sleep on “Sister Golden Hair,” boys and girls!)

When Rich finished his set, I sat down with him and interviewed him for 2 or 3 lines.   Here’s part one of that interview.

*     *     *     *     *

2 or 3 lines:  Rich, you look like you’re about 30 years old.

Rich McPhee:  You’re close.

2 or 3 lines:  So what are you doing playing classic rock songs that were recorded before you were born?

Rich:  I love classic rock because that’s what my parents played constantly when I was growing up.  One of my earliest memories is listening to an Eagles album on a Walkman when I was just seven.

Buffalo 40
2 or 3 lines:  And you grew up where?

Rich:  In New Hampshire.

2 or 3 lines:  Were your parents musicians, or just music fans?

Rich:  My father was a pretty good guitarist.  He was one of those life-of-the-party types who always pulled out his guitar when he and my mother partied with their friends.

2 or 3 lines:  When did you start playing the guitar?

Rich:  Not until I was in college.  I sang in my middle school chorus but I didn’t play an instrument when I was a kid.  I was a jock, not a musician – I loved baseball and basketball.

2 or 3 lines:  Where did you go to college?

Rich:  I was a sports management major at Springfield College in Massachusetts.

[Note: Springfield College is where a Canadian graduate student named James Naismith invented the game of basketball in 1891.]

Rich McPhee cuts loose in the recording studio
2 or 3 lines:  Your father must have been happy when you came home and could play the guitar.   

Rich:  He was.  I remember the first song he taught me – Neil Young’s “The Needle and the Damage Done.”

2 or 3 lines:  Which is one of the songs you played here tonight.

Rich:  It’s still one of my favorites.  After my father taught it to me, I played it so often that he lost it one day and yelled at me to “Learn a new song!”

2 or 3 lines: I don’t know much about guitars, but I have readers who will want me to ask you what kind of guitar you play.

Rich:  Tonight I played a Guild acoustic guitar.  When I play with Buffalo 40, I’ll play acoustic occasionally, but most of the time I play an electric – right now, that’s a Fender American Stratocaster with noiseless frets.  I go through guitars and amps like nobody’s business, but I like the setup I’ve got now – I use a Vox AC10, which is pretty lightweight compared to a lot of the amplifiers out there.  

[Note:  Vox tube amplifiers were used by most of the great British Invasion bands.  The original Vox AC10 was discontinued in 1965, but a modern version of this classic amplifier is now available.]

2 or 3 lines:  Any special tuning?

Rich :  I pretty much use straight tuning – no drop D or open G or anything like that.  

Part two of my interview with Rich McPhee will appear in the next 2 or 3 lines.

*     *     *     *     *

Buffalo 40 will be releasing a five-song EP later this month.  It will include today’s featured song, “Troublin’ On My Mind,” which is my personal favorite among the Buffalo 40 songs I’ve heard.  It’s a smartly arranged and well-executed song that I think would hold its own against almost any million-selling country hit that’s on the radio today: 

Click here and you’ll be taken to Buffalo 40’s Reverbnation page, where you can purchase “Troublin’ On My Mind” and other Buffalo 40 songs.

For those of you who live in the Washington, DC area, Buffalo 40 will be appearing live at the Boundary Stone at 9:00 PM on Saturday, April 28.  (The Boundary Stone is located at 116 Rhode Island Ave., NW, in Washington – just a stone’s throw north of the US Capitol.)

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