Interview: Flying Buffaloes

With backgrounds ranging from jazz to hip hop, Nashville five-piece outfit Flying Buffaloes have landed in the crosshairs of dirt road country and rock n’ roll.

“We met because of destiny,” declares Buffaloes drummer Danny Pratt. “Oh, was that her name?” asks co-frontman Barry Stone with a laugh. This collective of rip-roaring Americana players has the quintessential Nashville story—each on their own trajectory, holding down gigs in Lower Broadway honky tonks when several of them met at an audition to play at local haunt Tootsie’s. “We shared some fries, some old country songs, and now we’re all best friends,” says guitarist Tommy Leland. Other members joined after clicking during impromptu jam sessions, and Flying Buffaloes officially became a thing.

The band is preparing to release Taking Off, their self-produced debut EP, on August 11th, which houses five songs divided between its three front men. That’s right, three lead singers. “We’ve all fronted our own projects in the past, and when we came together, we had such great chemistry,” Barry explains. “Having three lead singers actually makes it way easier,” adds Danny. “It distributes the weight a bit.” When your band is composed of players used  to four hour-long sets on a given night on Broadway—which could be extremely taxing on one singer’s voice—it makes perfect sense to have more than one lead to share the load, especially when those voices sound amazing separately or in harmony with each other. “We love and respect each other, it’s really fun,” says Barry. “We brought four independently existing songs and one new song to the table to make this record.” Their debut single, “Hey 😉 Is For Horses,” was co-written by Barry and German-born fellow lead vocalist Johan Stone. Inspired by the spiteful end of a relationship, the song began when one Buffalo received a text saying ‘Hey’ from a girl who thought it was still okay to text. The tune, an outlaw-esque banger, plants a firm tongue in the proverbial cheek with a resident emoji in its title. “It’s the longest reply to a text message possible,” laughs Tommy.

Now, with Johan back in the States and no longer relying on woeful short-term tourist visas to remain a Buffalo, the band is reunited, hope for the future is reignited, and Flying Buffaloes have their eyes on the prize. “We’ve only been playing together for a year, and we’ve already been through so much,” adds Tommy. “There’s not much we can’t get through together.”

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Susan Hubbard

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