February 2016’s newsletter is jam packed with good stuff.  Please be sure to read about Bob McLennan’s music cruise and ticket give-aways,  Ken Biringer’s news about upcoming events, Don Nelson’s update on our Guitar Club for Kids, Angela Hastings’ article on the collaboration with American Repertory Theater, and our Sponsor of the Month:  The Good Neighborhood.

Upcoming Foundation Event

2nd Annual Szelest Fest

Membership Updates:

DISCOUNTS FOR MEMBERS: We’ve distributed over 200 membership cards already, and we’ll get to the rest of you very soon. We’ll be adding a long list of discounts that you’ll get when you show your membership card. The discounts we’ve arranged at this time are:

  • Buffalo Ironworks – 10% off all food items
  • Record Theatre – 10% off all regular priced items
  • The Tralf – Buy 3 tickets for a show and get the 4th free with a reserved table
  • Allentown Music – 10% off all regular items
  • Smolen/Bonghi CPA – 10% off all tax preparation and accounting services

Letter from our Chairman:

Dear Sportsmen’s Americana Music Foundation Members,

Due to the bylaws of the Sportsmen’s Americana Music Foundation and its non-profit status, we have had to suspend the free admission and discount program for members in connection with the Sportsmen’s Tavern. Sportsmen’s Tavern may not directly use the foundation to generate revenues to its business. Letting members in for free for non-SAMF events can be viewed as a conflict of interest between the two separate entities.

We are working on an alternative plan that will benefit all members for their continued support of the SAMF.

We apologize for any confusion this may have caused and we will inform you of the alternative program once we can get it into place. We thank you all for your continued support.

Dwane Hall
Chairman of the Board
SAM Foundation

We’re working on many more discounts and perks to add to the list, including perks from The Sportsmen’s Tavern. The entire list will be regularly updated on the SAMF website.

Buffalo Bob Sez:

John Prine & Rose McLennan

John Prine & Rose McLennan

Cayamo Americana Music Cruise: Imagine going to one location for the week and enjoying performances by John Prine, Jason Isbell, John Hiatt, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Buddy Miller, Jim Lauderdale, Paul Thorn, David Bromberg, The Black Lillies and many more, forty different bands. And there were many different collaborations among the artists as well. Even the solo performers were usually joining in with others.

We recently went on our fourth Cayamo Americana Music Cruise, in the Caribbean, with stops on St. Maarten and Tortola. It’s a floating music festival with great music available from noon to 3 AM or so on six different stages. Just like in past years, we had the opportunity to run into and speak with many artists we greatly admire. In the past, there was Lyle Lovett, Rodney Crowell, Keb’ Mo’, Richard Thompson and far too many to mention. This year, I spoke to former letter carrier John Prine and we compared delivering the mail in Buffalo and Chicago.

John Hiatt

John Hiatt

We met up with Sportsmen’s Tavern artists Paul Thorn and Jim Lauderdale and talked to Buddy Miller about the possibility of joining Jim next time he comes to Black Rock. We had dinner with Cruz from the Black Lillies and talked a little politics with David Bromberg, one of my favorite artists on the boat. I sat and watched a recording session close-up with Buddy Miller, Steve Earle, Larry Campbell and others with only about twenty other people. For the third year in a row, I spoke with John Hiatt about his career and music.

Lucinda Williams

Lucinda Williams & Buick 6

And my favorite on the boat once again was Lucinda Williams and her band, Buick 6. They were all incredibly friendly and gracious. Lucinda really cares what you think about her music and she and her husband/manager were very interested in the Foundation and the possibility of being able to align with us sometime in the future.

Jason Isbell

Jason Isbell

There are many different music cruises to pick from; in fact there was a four-day Outlaw Country cruise immediately following Cayamo with some of the same artists. Next year, Cayamo will leave from Tampa instead of Miami and it will be mid-February. But if you’re thinking of Cayamo as a way to get out of WNY for a week during the winter, be aware it sells out many months in advance.

Sportsmen’s Alumni on the Cayamo Cruise

Slade Cleaves
Paul Thorn Band
Jim Lauderdale Recording The Buddy & Jim Radio Show On Sirius
Black Lillies
Slade Cleaves


Coming Up in WNY: John Jorgenson’s Bluegrass Band at The Sportsmen’s Tavern on February 21st is a show I’m really looking forward to. I was telling Dwane Hall about a show I saw with Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby, the balls to the wall bluegrass, and Dwane said that’s what you’ll get from Jorgenson. Neko Case is at Babeville on 2/27 and that same night Dan Baird and Homemade Sin, from the Georgia Satellites are at 189 Public House in East Aurora, with the Sportsmen’s Leroy Townes opening the show.

Also coming at the Sportsmen’s are Peter Case on March 8th, Dave and Phil Alvin and The Guilty Ones on March 13th and The THE BAND Band on April 17th. We saw this band at The City Winery in NYC last year and if you like The Band, as most Sportsmen’s fans do, you gotta see this band. They are the best at doing The Band.

Peter Case

Peter Case with his local buddies: Jim Whitford, Mark Winsick, Rob Lynch

On March 3rd, Los Lobos will be at UB Center for the Arts for Fiesta Mexico-Americana and Kurt Vile and the Violators are at Babeville on March 31st. Professor Louie in April, Eilen Jewell in May, the list goes on and on, including all of our excellent Buffalo and WNY talent. Check the schedules and get out and see and hear live music! There’s nothing like it. Make a habit of checking the SAMF Facebook page to see a lot of interesting information about the music we all love.

SAMF Judy DeWald and Nancy Heffron at the Donna The Buffalo show at The Tralf on January 30th. Judy won tickets as a SAMF member.

SAMF Judy DeWald and Nancy Heffron at the Donna The Buffalo show at The Tralf on January 30th. Judy won tickets as a SAMF member.

FREE TICKETS: Last month, Sue Jaworski won for The Felice Brothers at The Tralf (show will be re-scheduled due to weather), Angela Hastings won for The Sadies at Buffalo Ironworks, Ron Kosobucki won a pair of John Jorgenson tickets at the Tavern, Doug Fordyce won free tickets to Neko Case at Babeville and David Ostreicher for Dan Baird and Homemade Sin at 189 Public House in East Aurora.

Bob McLennan

SAMF Sponsors Guitar Club for Kids:

Sportsmen’s Americana Music Foundation Guitar Club for Kids!

The Guitar Club for Kids, meeting at the Valley Community Center, is in full swing and will be holding its 3rd session next Tuesday the 23rd. Having gained a member for last Tuesday’s session, the club is now eleven strong!

Sportsmens Americana Music Foundation Guitar Club for KidsThe club is divided into two groups, 5:30-6:15 and 6:15-7:00 so that our instructor, David Internicola, may work more closely with the students. While we have at most six students per session, the Foundation purchased 10 guitars along with music stands and music, so that all students would have the ability to “sign” out a guitar to take home to practice. (We want to thank the Guitar Factory located in the Southgate Plaza for giving us a great deal on the equipment and participating in our member discount program – 10% off any purchase!)

In week one, the students learned about the guitar, its various parts and how it works. The students learned how to tune their guitars and David gave the kids a great little mnemonic tool for remembering the names of the six strings- (E)ddie (A)te (D)ynomite, (G)ood (B)ye (E)ddie, which of course they all loved… and remember! Also in week one, David also introduced the students to notes and chords.

Sportsmens Americana Music Foundation Guitar Club for KidsIn week two, David continued working on chords, cord progression and rhythms, half notes, whole notes, quarter notes. He’s also starting to touch on techniques, how to sit, proper position for the guitar, even tricks on how to retrieve picks that fall into the guitar! As he did in week one, David starts the class by playing and singing a classic Americana tune. In future sessions we hope to have “guest” musicians stop in to perform for and work with the students along with David.

All of the club members are progressing nicely and they all seem to really enjoy the experience. Interest and enthusiasm are high. The club is entertaining and fun as it is educational: It’s as it should be!

Don Nelson
Vice-President, SAMF

Kenny’s Corner

As we look out the window to the newly fallen foot of snow on top of record low temperatures that we enjoyed the other day, we can be confident that warmer temps are on the horizon. Along with the increase of the temperatures come the onslaught of free/ soft ticketed outdoor shows that are available 6 days a week. I speak to agents constantly about the abundance of these shows in the WNY area and the challenges it offers for those that need to compete. Every one of these agents deal with venues all over the country and tell me that no market offers anything like this – we are very lucky. Please keep in mind that many area venues that are family owned & operated 12 months a year truly deserve and appreciate consideration for your entertainment dollar.

Last night, WNY native and producer for Buddy Guy took the stage to accept another Grammy. Tom Hambridge will be performing June 25 for his first annual TH / SAMF music festival, stay tuned for early announcement & discounted tickets for SAMF members.

Tom Hambridge

Tom Hambridge

What do Buddy Guy, Delbert McClinton, ZZ Top, Hank Williams Jr., BB King, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Billy Ray Cyrus, Meat Loaf, Fog Hat, Rascal Flatts, Johnny Winter, Rodney Atkins, George Thorogood, Keith Anderson, Susan Tedeschi, Van Zant, American Idol, Walt Disney Pictures and Pope Francis all have in common? Grammy Award Winning Producer TOM HAMBRIDGE

In the mid 80’s, Chris Hilman offered his version of Bakersfield, California Country music via the Desert Rose Band. This was my first introduction to Mr. Jorgenson and his amazing Telecaster playing . After Desert Rose was put on the shelf, John went on to create his version of gypsy Jazz with the JJ quartet, JJ Bluegrass Band and along the way found 8 plus years to hold down the lead guitar slot for Elton John. This Sunday, John brings his bluegrass band to the stage of Sportsmen’s Tavern. Do yourself a favor and see this show.


John Jorgenson

John Jorgenson

One of three discs in Jorgenson’s comprehensive new release “Divertuoso” was recorded at Sheryl Crow’s studio. The traditional bluegrass instrumentation is covered by Jorgenson on mandolin & guitar, John Randall – guitar, Mark Fain – bass and Herb Pedersen – banjo. Jorgenson’s clean and sweet vocals are beautifully harmonized by Randall and Pedersen.

For readers who, like me, have limited exposure to and knowledge of Bluegrass music here’s bit about the pedigrees of these musicians.

Banjo man Herb Pedersen was in the renowned group The Dillards and Bluegrass super-group Old And In The Way. He’s performed with Chris Hilman and Gram Parsons of The Byrds as well as one of the most towering figures in the genre, Earl Scruggs.

Guitarist John Randall came to prominence with Emmylou Harris and has also toured with Earl Scruggs. Bassist Mark Fain was with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder over a decade as well as stints with Dolly Parton, Allison Krauss and numerous jazz, gospel and country gigs.

For you rockers and guitar-heads out there wondering why you should check out this recording of American folk music , understand that every musical form is built upon and borrows from earlier forms. Bluegrass can trace its roots back to Scottish, Welsh and Irish immigrants coming to the Appalachia region and bringing their music with them.

This is some of the most direct honest music you can experience, real musicians playing acoustic instruments together with vocal harmonies that would make the Eagles jealous. Banjo rolls and lightning fast guitar runs combining fretted notes with open strings fill in the spaces between verses. If you listen closely you can hear primordial Telecaster riffs taking shape in their ancestral form.

While I love a good 20 minute free form psychedelic excursion or a dissonant free jazz jam as much as anyone it is refreshing to hear musicians playing in a more structured format . There is a real skill to retaining a fidelity to the form while bringing something new and exciting to it.

As you listen to this recording appropriately done in a converted barn take the time to appreciate the subtle interplay of the instruments and the richness of the vocal harmonies which draw on West Coast folk music. It’s The Byrd’s “Sweethearts Of The Rodeo” coming full circle.

“Beautiful Sound” kicks off the album with that trademarked Beverly Hillbillies Flatt & Scruggs banjo explosion and sweet harmonies. There are three instrumentals, “Ladies Bluff”, “Feather” and “Gina” showcasing the technical prowess of the players.

One track that really jumped out at me on the first listen was “Wandering Boy”. “Wandering Boy” is a Rodney Crowell composition which definitely tackles subject matter I would have never expected in a Bluegrass or Country song. It’s a heartbreaking and poignant song of a twin accepting his brother’s gay orientation and terminal disease while coming to terms with his own personal evolution – ” I used to cast my judgement like a net, All those California gay boys deserved just what they get, Little did I know there’d come a day When my words would come back screaming like a debt I have to pay”.

That degree of introspection was a real surprise and the delivery of the song is truly moving . From start to finish Jorgenson and crew masterfully take the listener through a voyage in authentic roots music. http://guitarhd.com/review-john-jorgenson-j2b2-from-the-crows-nest.php

Ken Biringer
SAMF Board Member

SAMF Grants American Repertory Theater a New Home:

After losing its home at 16 Linwood Avenue less than a year ago, the American Repertory Theater of WNY (ART/WNY) has found an even better location at 330 Amherst Street. The new site came about via a partnership between Dwane Hall of The Sportsmens Tavern, the Sportsmens Americana Music Foundation (SAMF) and ART/WNY‘s Executive Director Matthew LaChiusa. LaChiusa stated that after the theater company was displaced, he wound up talking to Hall about the potential of relocating into a building that adjoins the tavern. Hall originally intended to use the building as an alternate music production studio, but when the vision never panned out, it simply became a place to store things. While the original discussion didn’t lead very far, a second meeting ensued, which is when a deal was struck.

“So my brother Thomas and I swung into the Sportsman Tavern and chatted with Dwane.” said LaChiusa, recalling the beginnings of the agreement. “We said we’re still looking for a space. He (Dwane) said, ‘I still got one’ and so we agreed to help him move items out, which we did in October, and the rest is history in the making.”

Moving forward, the new location will be built out as a flexible 50 seat black-box production theater that will also be able to accommodate room for community educational programs, dramatic arts performances, music, film screenings and poetry.

“The 330 Amherst performance space is a win-win-win for both the Foundation, ART/WNY and the neighborhood,” noted LaChiusa when asked about the deal. “You are seeing a grassroots foundation and a local businessman utilizing their resources to renovate an unused space and turn it into an active production forum for a cultural organization that brings in local talent for theater productions. So instead of the ‘new Buffalo renaissance’ status quo of seeing tax payers’ money used for developing parking ramps, condos, and hotels, there is a cooperation of grassroots community groups that use their own resources to develop a space that draws people into the neighborhood which then benefits both the neighborhoods and businesses surrounding the space.”

houseofblueleavesfeb16After renting the Medialle Lecture Hall through Kaleidoscope Theatre Productions for a September 2015 show, ART/WNY will now be able to present John Guare’s pioneering work The House of Blue Leaves on March 10 (runs until April 2) at its new theater space on Amherst Street. None of this could have happened without the crucial partnering between the theater and SAMF.

“Both ART and SAMF have their own audience and we believe with this co-op, we will be able to tap into a bigger audience,” said SAMF board member, Angela Hastings. “SAMF has funded two education programs that are underway so far this year (Buffalo String Works and the after-school program with the Valley Community Center co-sponsoring Guitar Club for Kids) and we have many more proposed. The theater space that we have created will accommodate both our education programs and ART’s new theater for performance. Our objective is to work with ART in establishing a collaboration of theater and music. Music and Theater go hand in hand. We believe we can work together to become a big part of the arts in Buffalo.”

Sponsor of the Month: The Good Neighborhood

The Good Neighborhood

Seamus Gallivan – “I support SAMF because I believe in Buffalo’s ability to become a more prominent regional and national destination for Americana music. Having visited other hotspot cities and lived in Austin, The Sportsmen’s Tavern stands among the best venues for audience experience and artist hospitality, and Buffalo has a strong local Americana music scene to support the missison of the foundation. We need to assert our community in this way.”

Bob Gallivan from Vandelay Industries – “I support SAMF because this effort has to succeed. I’ve been seeing Americana music in Buffalo since guys like Stan Szelest began defining the sound. Local artists here deserve a bigger spotlight, and national acts need to know how much support there is here for them.”


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