I am so happy to introduce you to The Buzztown Band, a kids band that is based right here in Durham. Why do I want you to know about them? Because they are great…and they even have a song called “Durham Kid.” Ace in the hole for local families, right?
The Buzztown Band used to play regularly at Broad Street Cafe, until BSC suddenly closed. Even though they are currently without a performing home the Band is always looking for spaces to play and until you can dance your kids’ little legs off to them live they have a CD out: “Time Off for Good Behavior.”
The CD works on so many levels. In the jacket sleeve for “Time Off” the band’s leader, Brian Buzby, writes that he tried to write kids’ music that adults and kids could both enjoy. And he did it.
I asked Buzby who his musical inspirations were and he tells me, “My musical inspirations are varied. I grew up singing classic music in the Philadelphia Boys Choir so I’ve always appreciated operas like La Boheme and classical music like Mahler’s Fifth Symphony. As a saxophone player I love jazz – particularly John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Pat Metheny and Joshua Redman. But I also like rock music, including favorites Radiohead, Wilco, the Beatles and early Dave Matthews Band. And I have to mention Bela Fleck and the Flecktones – cause they’re amazing.”
Notice that nowhere in that list is a kids’ musician? It shows. You will love this music as much as your kids. I giggle to the “Train Song” & the lyrics while my kids dance around making choo-choo noises.
Buzby himself is a dad and has had a long and varied background in music, including a rather successful stint in a local band, Saunter.
Now Buzby has three kids, one daughter who is six and twins that will be starting kindergarten next year. His motivation for creating “Time Off” was a “sanity project” Buzby calls it.
“At the time of Ainsley being born, I was still playing in a rock band so I didn’t think about a children’s album. It wasn’t until after Chase and Lyla were born and I was no longer playing in a band (Jimmy quit, Jody got married – well, we all had kids…) that I got serious about writing and recording a children’s album. For some people music is called a vanity project – in my case it was a sanity project. At the time, my three children were four and two (double two with twins) and they were very interested in music and ironically I wasn’t playing music at all.
So I had the idea to step off the treadmill of running a statewide nonprofit and slow down and write and record a children’s music album and include my children every step of the way. I was fortunate to be awarded a sabbatical by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation (based in Winston-Salem) and took four months off from work to do this project. I reached to my former bandmates (most who also have children), a co-worker and my younger brother (who lives in Durham) and we created The Buzztown Band.”
The fact that Buzby is himself a dad is evident. In his lyrical, swaying song”In My Arms” I get teary as the chorus repeats, “I want you to grow and I want you to fly but I’d still like to hold you every once in awhile.” (You can hear that song here.)
Buzby and his wife moved to this area in 1999, originally residing in Carrboro. In 2002 they bought their house in Durham and are now a Durham family. His favorite places to go in Durham with his kids? Well, you’ll have to go listen to Durham Kid to find out!
A little insider’s tip for local parents: The Buzztown Band is giving away some copies of “Time Off for Good Behavior.“ Want to get one? Like them on their Facebook page then send them a message. Also, if you know of a spot where they can share their music live again let them know.
The rest of the band includes: “Matthew Davis on guitar and back-up vocals – oddly enough Matthew also has three children, including twins; Paul Sanders on keyboards – he plays with the band Motion Pictures; John Crusoe on drums – he plays with Stone Age Romeos and has two children; Cameron Dye on bass – he recorded and produced the album and has a son; Mindy Hiteshue on vocals – Mindy is a co-worker and is the lead singer in the band Shine; and [Buzby's] brother Jonn Buzby on back-up vocals – he leads the band Damn Fine Coffee.”
DISCLAIMER: I was given a copy of the CD for free for review but only because I sought out the band on Facebook and begged. All the opinions are my own and I love this group.