As a long-time observer of contemporary music in Augusta it has always been fascinating to see local bands in their quests for stardom.
In the ’80s it was Mr. Funn. The band, led by Steve Cheeks, was undoubtedly the hottest band in local bars during this era. Unfortunately, national success eluded them even though they almost landed a deal from a major record label in Los Angeles.
Augusta’s best hope in the ’90s was People Who Must, founded by guitarist/vocalist Joe Stevenson. PWM, a terrific live act, recorded several albums that were released nationally with limited success.
However, 40 years ago a local group called Cinnamon were considered by many in Augusta to have the greatest shot at national success. Led by brothers Steve and Jamie Brantley, the group soon changed their name to Buford. They are reuniting at Sky City on Thursday, Nov. 17 with the music beginning at 9 p.m. Do not miss this band!
Guitarist Frank Brittingham had been a member of Dixie Grit with Steve Morse (Dixie Dregs, Deep Purple) before joining Buford. Drummer extraordinaire Mike Brigham and the late keyboardist Howard Simpers rounded out the original band.
Buford, as many local bands did back in the day, opened local concerts for national acts Sly and the Family Stone, Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds, and James Brown, a very close friend of the band.
In the mid ’70s Buford was the house band at The Partridge Inn. Even though they were scouted by the then-powerful Arista Records the group soon realized that session work in Nashville and Las Vegas was far more lucrative than attempting to make it as recording artists.
During this time, they toured and recorded with a staggering number of successful artists including Tracy Nelson, Dave Loggins, Joan Armatrading, Gary Morris and Ronnie Milsap. Guitarist Jamie Brantley continues to tour with Milsap to this day.
As bassist Steve Brantley recently told me about Buford: “We were at one time considered progressive and I guess, due to age, we’re now sorta old school. Our reunion concert, November the 17th is a contemporary look at old school progressive.”
It’s gonna be better than just “good.” See you at Sky City!
TURNER’S QUICK NOTES: Following up last month’s very successful Dark Side of the Moon Immersion reissue, Pink Floyd gives the same treatment to Wish You Were Here. Both sets are full of outtakes, demos and unreleased material. Robert Plant revisits his musical childhood with Jukebox. The set contains some of his fave covers including Who Do You Love (Bo Diddley), I’ll Go Crazy (James Brown) and even a take of Bob Marley’s Lively up Yourself … Well-deserved congratulations are in order for Eryn Eubanks and the Family Fold for last weekend’s music festival at the Kroc Center. It’s a fine event that just keeps getting better each year.