Buffalo Narrows - A Band of Regina Musicians Playing Anything They Can
Buffalo Narrows Biography goes something like this:
The goal of the Regina’s Buffalo Narrows is to unite all of the genres they love; old-timer and modern alike, to create something that is both new and unique, while still carrying on the great traditions that today's musicians inherit. They find their inspiration in both a band of gypsies in Eastern Europe and a drunken mountain man in backwoods Appalachia; a Deep Southern banjo picker on his porch and the great Tom Waits; Italian tarantellas and pirate sea chanteys; the mournful songwriting of Hank Williams and the upbeat indie-rock of today. As technically skilled and highly adaptable musicians, they embrace the challenge of playing various styles and bringing them all together to create what you might call "Roots" music, if you wanted to sum it all up with one word. Or, if you have room for two, you could just call it Buffalo Narrows.
I had the greatest privilege of being a part of the creation of this band in 2012 when I was just starting grade 11. Kiernan Anderson, and Keiran Semple (son of Jack Semple) had an idea to start a bluegrassy group and they were looking for a banjo player. I was friends with Kiernan’s brother Brendan, and so naturally I became an option. Kiernan contacted me on Facebook and we decided to meet at our old elementary school. I remember sitting there with my banjo as a bald, bearded man with a guitar hanging of his shoulder and a cigarette hanging from his lip approached me. We played some tunes together, and I ‘passed’ the audition, if it could be called that. After a few rehearsals, and a few jams at the Regina Farmers market, we had gained some members (Peter Broda on electric 5-string Bass, and Cyprian Henry on drum set) and were ready for out first show.
I was 15 when I played my first bar gig; it was at the Hells Angels’ owned bar the Gaslight Saloon. I was wearing a plaid shirt with every button except the top done up, and I remember Kiernan giving me heck for looking too good. It was the first of many bar shows, and the first of many great experiences resulting from being a member of this band.
Over the past two years we grew, lost and gained some members (Lost: Kiernan, gained his brother James on Harmonica, also gained Thomas J. Arr on Mandolin). We played at the Northern Lights Bluegrass Festival (my first ever Festival gig). When we auditioned for this festival we were very acoustic and rootsy, but months later we had changed so drastically that we surprised them with our new more electric sound. We also played at the Semple Estate’s ‘A Night to Remember’ fundraiser for Alzheimer research, where we opened for George Canyon and Blue Rodeo.
One of the greatest things about this band is how fast we evolved. When I played my last show with them at the Conexus Arts Center in December for the Craig and Mark McMorris (Olympic Snowboarder) gala, I played electric guitar for the entirety of the show. With this constant change, I had to keep up with it, and this band helped me push my performing and band arranging skills to a new level.
The most important lesson I learned from playing with these talented older gentlemen is that there should not be any intimidation when playing with older musicians. Everyone has something to say, and in this band I felt completely comfortable playing whatever I wanted, because we all respected each other, and opened out ears to anything.
Playing with Buffalo Narrows was one of the highlights of my highschool experience, and I look forward to future shows with them.
If you want to find out more about Buffalo Narrows visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BuffaloNarrows
and their Soundcloud: