Artist of the Week: Country Store Buffalo on Breast Implants, Beer-Drinking Bison and That Old Devil Cocaine

Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to introducingliston@gmail.com.

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You are in the enviable position of someone about to witness history. Get ready for it. To help with the mood, why don't you go ahead and pretend like there are horns blaring in the background and somebody just released a flock of doves into the air. That's regal. And since we're pretending things, go ahead and pretend that we play in the NBA. Here we go: Introducing Country Store Buffalo!

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CSB's Brad Boyer
Horns...Doves... Jump shots...

Perhaps a bit of background information is necessary. Seven months ago, we fitted folk singer Matt Harlan for the Artist of the Week crown. Then about two or so months ago, we came across Country Store Buffalo, a perfectly dusty quintet that's every bit as countryish, storeish and buffaloish we were hoping.

We hit 'em up for an interview and, lo and behold, Matt Harlan turned out to be a member. That's monumental. For the first time in the history of the column, one artist will have been fitted for the crown twice. If Harlan had two heads, he'd be way ahead in the crown-ownership game.

After the jump, read about cocaine abuse, drunk buffaloes and the non-inanity of breast enhancements.

Rocks Off: We like that it only takes about four seconds into "Tonight I'm Gonna Lose" before we get some talk of cocaine abuse. You don't hear that too much in country songs.

Brad Boyer (lead vocals/guitar): Oh, that's because nobody in country music has ever had a substance abuse problem, nor do people who listen to country music have problems of any kind. Except for Johnny Cash, George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Glen Campbell, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard and those guys, but they aren't really country, though. [laughs]

Country Store Buffalo, "West Texas Wind"

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Matt Harlan at the "Almost Austin" house concerts

RO: What exactly is a "country store buffalo"? We went to high school at Southwest H.S. in San Antonio. It was out in the sticks and they used to have this place called Rachel's Country Corner. One of the draws was this buffalo that they kept in the back as part of their "zoo."

It was always real mellow, except we believe it eventually got out and mauled someone or something. Is this in any way related to how you all came up with the name? If not, you're free to use it. You can tell people how it represents both your "Texas open fields" quality as well as your "fuck you up with a quickness" qualities. What say you?

BB: Well both are true. There is a Chuck Norris-like quality to the band, but there was actually a place called the Country Store in Alvin on Highway 35/Telephone Road. They sold feed, gasoline and were a legitimate old-school country store turned beer joint since the '50s, I think.

They had this Buffalo named Buddy who was the main attraction. It was well-publicized that Buddy only ate Lone Star Feed and only drank Lone Star beer, and the deal was if you could outdrink the buffalo, everyone drank for free, BUT if the buffalo outdrank you, then you paid for your beer AND the buffalo's beer!

RO: That is fantastic. Ooh, we know what we wanted to ask: Is that "New Strings On An Old Guitar" some type of clever analytical postulation on how Old is the new New? Or how women that get breast implants don't really do anything to serve themselves positively? Or is it something that just sounds cool to say?

BB: For the record, I have absolutely no problem with large breasts, natural or "enhanced," but that song is a little more of the first and is more representative of a solo project of my own. Speaking of something cool to say, the song "Mean When I Drink (And I Drink A Little All The Time)" will be on our live recording coming in December. I got that line from an old friend of my grandpa's named "Whiskey" Bill Parks.

Country Store Buffalo, "Mean When I Drink (And I Drink a Little All the Time"

This guy was reputed to be a forest ranger who came from Tennessee. His job was to watch out for forest fires but he mostly just looked for whiskey stills. He would map out their location and then go rob them at night. I'm not sure how he got to South Texas, but the same guy famously rode his ol' buckskin hoss "Skipper" into a bar in Alice, Tex., and shot pool off of his back. I thought he deserved a song.

RO: What the eff is going on in this interview, man? We feel completely upended. Perhaps we should discuss the new album, seeing as how it's coming out this Saturday. Hit us with all we need to know about it. Is it the greatest country album of the last 40 years or what?

BB: The Saturday release is actually more of a Matt Harlan solo project, and he could tell you more about it.

Matt Harlan: Let's just say, if someone said it was the greatest country album I wouldn't sic ol' Buddy on 'em. But, I just got it out and it's up to No. 97 on the Americana charts, so I'm pretty excited about it. There's a little bit of everything on it I think, not just country. I'm just glad people are listening. Plus, a good chunk of the CSB crew will be backing me at the release party this Saturday.

Listen to CSB in-studio on KPFT's Deadbeat Saturday about 5:30 pm. See them online at www.countrystorebuffalo.com.

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