"Smoky Bars and Steel Guitars" is my second original album since I recorded "Home to the Mountains" back in 1985. It seems like a rather long time to wait to put out a new album, but so many things have happened since the first project that it's hard to imagine that there would have been time to get the job done.

Since releasing the first album, I have another child, I became a computer geek of sorts and built a recording studio in 2000 as part of my web marketing business to create royalty-free original music for my web clients. Only later did I decide to use the studio to record my own music and that of other musical friends like "Cowboy" Brad Fitch. Brad and I have done eight albums together in the last eight years while my own project languished. But finally, and to my son Jeff's great excitement, the new album is here. Not exactly how I planned it originally, as it was titled "Summertown", but my music has changed so much I thought perhaps a change to the title was in order. I hope you enjoy what we created here. I won't wait twenty-six years to do the next one.

Thanks for listening,
Bob

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Bob Buford: Smoky Bars and Steel Guitars

 


Smoky Bars and Steel Guitars

The Songs:

One More Thing ~ The idea for this song came about a year ago from a comment I heard someone make. Also I did one of those songwriting marathons where I tried to write a song a day for a month. Most of what I wrote I felt didn't deserve the "full production" treatment. But this one stood out. I was going for a new "old country" honky-tonk sound which is also the basis for the next two songs on the album. I also thought this song was "visual" enough to be turned into a music video which we created and uploaded to YouTube.

 

This Honky Tonk Heart ~ I had tried to write this song a number times but it always came out too harsh. It's mostly autobiographical and I've lived long enough now to have mellowed somewhat in regard to the feelings I had about some of the experiences I encountered as the child of a broken home. Both of my parents are gone now and I'm not sure how they would have responded to this song. But the truth is the truth and sometimes you've just gotta put it out there. Certainly those experiences shaped my later life to some extent though it took me all these years to realize exactly how that manifested itself. That realization has led me to make some changes in the way I live my life these days and also made me a bit more philosophical about my choices and those of my parents all those years ago.

Wine and Liquor ~ When I was three-years old my dad had me standing on the bars he frequented and singing Hank Williams' "Jambalya", "Hey Good Lookin' " and numerous other classics in that traditional country music genre. I remember people giving me money to stand up there and sing, and I even "sat in" with working bands of the day and singing for a dance hall full of folks. Apparently, that was the beginning of my love of performing and music in general. This song was a blatant attempt at recreating the feel of a Hank-Williams type song with all the new technology and advanced musicianship available today while still retaining that genuine honky tonk vibe. The song is aided immensely by the playing of steel guitar master, Billy Cooper, who is a client and friend and who graciously agreed to add his talent to this project. Thanks Billy, you rock.

Someone Else's Angel ~ This very "Eagles-sounding" song was written in the early 2000's when we were planning the "Summertown" album which eventually evolved into this current project. I've been a huge Eagles fan since "Witchey Woman" and have personally played their songs with bands I was involved with for several decades. So I guess it's only natural to include a tune from this genre to help round out the honky tonk vibe of this project. It's a minor key song that lends itself to some soulful blues-rock guitar.

How's That Workin' ~ Is a song I wrote about eight years ago and which is based on that famous phrase "...so, how's that workin' for you?"  Although I've heard a number of people use it, the personality that uses it to best advantage in my opinion is Dr. Phil McGraw (Dr. Phil). Anyone on the receiving end of that phrase can be pretty sure of the answer and the implications of idiocy. In the song (the singer can be either male or female) the singer sarcastically addresses a spouse who has either been unfaithful or has abandoned the relationship for something "better" only to find out that the grass isn't greener at all and wants to come back.

Someday ~ I love western swing and also playing the pedal steel guitar. Someday, a song of love permanently delayed, is my first recording on which I played pedal steel. Very up-tempo, swing-style, with some jazzy electric guitar at the break.

Faithless Heart ~ Lots of fun three-part harmonies on this rather 50's sounding country-rock song. The fat sound of the Fender Telecaster Subsonic lends a bit of "Duane Eddy" style picking to the somewhat dark atmosphere of this tune. The ghostly and bluesy sounds, near the end of the song, of a overdriven Fender Strat played by assistant producer/engineer, John Buford, adds some nice crunch and texture to the overall feel.

Columbine Blue ~ This very "Colorado" sounding folk-country song is reminiscent of the folk and rock era of the early 70's. It was actually the first song written for this collection back in '92. The symbolism of lost love a ultimately recovered amidst the grandeur of the Rockies is very visual and typical of the genre.

Son of a Working Class Man ~ This song is a tribute to all the Exxon employees who worked at the Baton Rouge plant specifically, and all the "oilers" in general, which included my grandfather, father, and uncle. It was a time of blue-collar neighborhoods, second and third-generation "plant" families, and cradle-to-the-grave employers, long since past. But the memories and friends made there linger on.

A Soft Place To Land ~ The story related in this song is universal, I think. But it was related to me in detail by a close friend who endured the pains of a difficult childhood and a worse marriage. There comes a time when you've experienced enough to know what you need to survive and carry on in life, and the kind of person you need with you when times are hard.

Summertown ~ Estes Park was my hometown for over twenty-three years. It's primarily a summer tourist town with a thousand stories to tell. Over the years I watched relationships come and go, many of which were summer loves, doomed to eventually end. The pattern short-lived, seasonal trends in such a place are reflected in the lives of the people who live there whether as residents or summer visitors and employees.

Thunder in Heaven ~ This song was written on the eve of the death of a dear friend and a talented young drummer, David Souers. It was also one the first songs we recorded after we built our recording studio in 2001. David died of an untimely illness at an age when most people are just beginning to enjoy their lives and relationships. Part of his legacy was a young lady, Lori Anne Cazan, who subsequently dedicated her life to music and teaching. Her mandolin playing graces this song as a tribute to our friend, David, nearly twenty-five years after his death. This album is dedicated to David's memory as well as to one of my best friends from high school, Felman Cappel, who was also a drummer in our little rock band way back when. Count it off, boys ...you're thunder in heaven tonight.

What About Love ~ I can only guess at the number of people I know who've had the experiences presented in this song, both men and women. Specifically the song is about a middle-aged woman who finds herself alone after years of being a wife and mother. She's back in the dating pool and not having a lot of luck. But her faith and desire is strong enough to keep her searching for that dream. Have you been there?

Diana's Theme ~ Every musician/entertainer should have a million fans like our friend Diana. I don't think I've ever met a singer/songwriter, or performer of any kind that loves music more than Diana, who is NOT a musician. She liked this instrumental melody study on synth so much I named it after her. Hope you enjoy it too.

In My Heart ~ Songwriters are always encouraged to listen closely to conversations, and to watch closely what goes on around them in order to pick up great song ideas. This song was created around something I once heard a friend say. I thought the sentiment was so profound that I could write a song around it.  If you listen closely you hear some "whispered" lyrics buried in the background. It was my attempt at writing something "sexy" after being challenged by a fellow songwriter. Not my usual fare, but I gave it my best shot. It's sort of my personal "Love to Love You, Baby" style of writing. Maybe you'll find it interesting.

Leaving Tonight ~ As a young musician growing up I always loved the sound of popular guitarists like Duane Eddy. That twangy Gretsch jazzer with it's deep edgy bass and heavy dose of tremolo really got my attention. To this day I'll still include that sound on some of my songs ("Faithless Heart" and "Summertown") if I get the chance. This instrumental is my first full song utilizing that style and the tremolo effect, albeit with a Fender "Nashville" Telecaster. Makes me want to get in my Vette and just drive.

Wherever You Are Tonight ~ This is the first song we recorded after building our recording studio in 2001. It's another instrumental melody study on synthesizer. The song is dedicated to my mother who always had music playing in our house. She loved old rock and roll and blues ala Joe Turner and Fats Domino. She didn't play music but she certainly got my rock 'n roll bones moving in the right direction. She never heard me play keys before her death, but I know she would have loved this.

Quiet Desperation ~ At first listen this song sounds like a dark and depressing bit of songwriting, but the last few lines are it's saving grace. Basically it deals with the place you find yourself in a relationship after years of mediocrity and apathy with seemingly no way out. Trust me...there is a way out.

Estes Park Christmas ~ This is a beautiful waltz, the only one I've ever written, about my home for over 23-years, Estes Park Colorado. It's a wonderful little mountain on the fringe of Rocky Mountain National Park with incredible views, and friendly, talented people. A great small-town experience for sure. Here's to all the residents and lovers of Estes Park. Enjoy.

 

 

...thanks for listening  ~Bob


This album is dedicated to the memory of Felman Cappel and David Souers,
great friends and great drummers who left us too soon.

 

 

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