Silo City AliveThe Sportsmens Americana Foundation, along with the generous sponsorship of Silo City, GoBike Buffalo, Flying Bison Brewery and Buffalo’s Best Grill, is proud to present Silo City Alive: an afternoon of art and music in one of the city’s most iconic spaces on Sunday, July 2nd from 2 to 8pm. The grain silos along the Ohio Street canals offer a unique place for bikers, kayakers and urban explorers of all ages. Alongside some of Buffalo’s premier Americana bands, artists will be creating interactive pieces and displaying work specifically created to celebrate country and folk music traditions that continue to inspire local songwriters and performers. The Buffalo Aerial Dance Company will also be performing a spectacular airborne ballet that is sure to be an unforgettable experience juxtaposed against the architectural backdrop of the grain elevators. This event is family-friendly, with children being admitted for free. Join GoBike and the nationally famous Slow Roll for a scenic view of the city leading up to the festival’s kickoff at 2pm. Bands will be playing continuously on two stages, one of which will be uniquely situated inside of a silo, until 8pm. We’ll see you at the Silos!

Beave Sorenson/Leroy Townes

Gobike BuffaloGObike Buffalo looks forward to co-sponsoring
Silo City Alive

…which will showcase the American musical ethos at one of Buffalo’s most innovative and accessible creative spaces. Hourly group rides to the venue will depart from Symphony Circle on the hour from 2-7 p.m.; the route will take advantage of downtown Buffalo’s bicycle infrastructure and highlight Silo City’s proximity to the Ohio Street bike path. At the venue, GObike will offer a free bicycle valet, with tips encouraged. GObike staff and volunteers will be on-site to share information on bicycling in Buffalo and offer services including bicycle registration and merchandise sales.

Journal of Americana MusicWelcome the June issue of The JAM (Journal of Americana Music). The SAM Foundation is pleased to bring you the latest news from the Americana Music world each month. This month brings warm weather, festivals, articles, reviews on concerts you attended or were sorry you missed, and overall warmth and love from the Foundation.

Please read below for ticket giveaways via our President, Bob McLennan, reviews by our very own journalist, Lucy Bell, education updates from Don Nelson…

Lucy Bell

Lucy Bell

We’d like to thank three of our musician friends for coming up with the vision of having a musical event at Silo City. Beave Sorenson, Jeff Schaller and Bill Smith are artists in every realm. Silo City Alive will take place on July 2nd from 2:00 till 8:00 and will feature bands, art, beer, food. Visit our SAMF tent and thank all of our volunteers. Beave explains more in an article below.

Here’s where I give kudos to my colleagues on the Board of SAMF: (BTW I’m keeping this really short; their abilities and accomplishments go way beyond what I’ve written)

Dwane Hall, Chairman: Dwane is the patron of the Foundation. He had an idea, people who believe in him and the knowledge and experience to make the Foundation come to fruition. He’s our consultant, friend and our greatest asset when it comes to just about anything.

Bob McLennan, President: Bob is a driving force and never stops envisioning how to not only grow, but constitute new ideas that are creative. Oh yea, and he does the leg work.

Don Nelson, Vice President: Don has done a stellar job in our education department. He has a knack for bringing the right educators, venues and students together.

Kenny Biringer: Kenny is our music aficionado who has many years of booking music for the Tavern. He knows the business like nobody else and is a great asset to the Foundation.

Bernadette Walsh, Secretary: Bernie brings us her experience in the not-for-profit world, along with her great ideas. She also keeps our meeting minutes and doesn’t hesitate to help out in all ways.

Dick Donovan, Website Coordinator: Dick is our newest and board member who has taken the reins on keeping the website up-to-date. His tech knowledge is much needed and appreciated. Look for his slideshow on Foundation Nights.

Anthony Smolen, CPA: Tony is a partner in Smolen/Bonghi/Fleishmann, LLC. He keeps us in line financially, keeps our books and tells it like it is.

Peter Stevens, Vanner Insurance: Peter is one our music advocates who helps us with all of our insurance needs.

Me, Angela Hastings, Director of Membership: Just as my title denotes, I coordinate and communicate all aspects of membership. I also help organize all of our events and this newsletter. Please don’t ever hesitate to contact me with ideas or concerns!

Member Volunteers: Thank you for sharing your time, effort and love.

July’s Foundation night will be July 11th since the first Tuesday is 4th of July.

Angela Hastings



On July 2nd, the Sportsmen’s Americana Music Foundation is hosting an afternoon of Music and Art at Silo City. See the articles from Beave Sorenson of Leroy Townes, one of the seven bands performing that day, and Angela Hastings, SAMF Director of Membership. And just look at that list of performers! The price is so low and family friendly, you can’t afford not to be there. It’s going to be a great day; that weekend will be the start of the extended Independence Day holidays. There will be a lot going on throughout the city, including downtown and Canalside, but this will be the place to be, along with many hundreds of bicyclists from GoBike, Flying Bison beer drinkers, artists and Buffalo’s best musicians, all at the historic Silos.


Radney Foster

Radney Foster

Summer 2017 is promising to be better than ever for music. Yeah, there’s U2 and Roger Waters, but we know the best music experiences happen when you can see a great artist in a smaller, more intimate setting. Performers with the asterisk before their name are available for free ticket opportunities in our monthly drawing. Let’s start the conversation with the Sportsmen’s Tavern, a great place to see music in the summer with the wide-open balcony and the new air-conditioning for the downstairs. Radney Foster appears on June 17th and if you haven’t seen his video of “All That It Requires” yet, look him up. And Ten Cent Howl’s Bill Smith opens the show with a solo performance.

As always, there is great music seven days per week, but some of the other highlights are *Lee Harvey Osmond, *The Honeycutters, *Western Centuries, *Jim Lauderdale, *Mary Gauthier and on July 13, the duo of Ray Bensen of Asleep at the Wheel with Dale Watson.

Western Centuries
Author: Brooke Warren
Copyright: © Brooke Warren 2014
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Mary Gauthier Mary Gauthier’s show deserves a special note. US Army Sgt. Joshua Gertz will ride his wheelchair from Indiana to the Sportsmen’s Tavern in Buffalo, arriving June 25th for the 5 PM Mary Gauthier concert. Mary Gauthier conducts the Songwriting with Soldiers project and performed with Gertz at the Grand Ole Opry in 2016. Josh is well underway on his mission! Greet him at Sportsmen’s Tavern on June 25! Please see my Facebook post for more information on this fundraising effort to raise awareness of the issue of 22 veterans whose lives end in suicide each day.

Next is Babeville and its smaller venue, The 9th Ward. *The Dustbowl Revival, on June 28th, is “an Americana and Soul band with eight full-time members who mash the sounds of New Orleans funk, bluegrass, soul, pre-war blues, and roots music, into a genre-hopping, time-bending dance party that coaxes new fire out of familiar coal.” That description from the Babeville site got me, I’ll be there. WNY’s Folkfaces open the show. Also, *Sean Rowe will be appearing on July 23rd, with Grace Stumberg from right here in our hometown. *Saintseneca appears on July 11th and *Parsonsfield on July 13th. The 9th Ward is like having the bands play in your living room.


Dustbowl Revival
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189 Public House has been a Foundation partner almost since the beginning. Two shows coming up deserving special mention, no cover charge, are The Mountain Run Bluegrass Band with Doug Yeomans on July 21st and Folkfaces on August 4th.

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Buffalo Ironworks has offered tickets for *Grass Is Dead on June 23rd and *Billy Strings on July 12th. I’m really looking forward to Billy Strings; I saw him at DelFest in Cumberland, Maryland, Del McCoury’s bluegrass festival, in May of 2015. He is an extraordinary guitarist, a virtuoso.

Billy Strings
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Larkinville, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, has a wide range of music, much of it coming from Sportsmen’s alums. John and Mary and the Valkyries, Ten Cent Howl, Shaky Stage, Freight Train, Peter Case with Mark Winsick and Jim Whitford, Rear View Ramblers, Tommy Z, Dee Adams, The Outlyers, Workingman’s Dead and the highlight of the Larkinville Summer, The Twang Gang on August 9th.

The Bidwell Park Tuesday night concert series has music from June 20th through August 8th, when, for the finale, McCarthyizm will appear. McCarthyizm is a corporate member of the SAM Foundation, and the best Celtic band in WNY.

Count the asterisks; there are 12 free ticket opportunities being offered to members of the SAM Foundation. Send me an email by the deadline of Wednesday June 21st at 9 PM and tell me which shows you want to win free tickets to attend.

Bob McLennan
SAM Foundation

LeE HARVeY OsMOND at the Tavern on May 24, 2017

Reviewed by Lucy Bell

What do Bruce Springsteen, Mavis Staples, Jason Isbell, Billy Ray Cyrus and Lucinda Williams all have in common? Tom Wilson aka LeE HARVeY OsMOND.

LeE HARVeY OsMONDOn Wednesday, May 24, Tom Wilson played with one of his many groups, LeE Harvey OsMOND, at The Sportsmen’s Tavern. The Canadian singer/songwriter is no stranger to The Sportsmen’s stage and is almost considered a regular to the revolving door of musicians that come through the Tavern. Illuminated by the familiar stage lights, LeE HARVeY OsMOND comprised of three musicians that night. The most striking thing was that there was no drummer. “You have no idea how hard it is to get over the us border,” joked Wilson on stage. Their drummer wasn’t able to cross over the states. I’m sure the occupation of “musician” didn’t help the poor guy’s case that much.

However, it wasn’t glaringly obvious. It actually added to the set. Sandwiched between two younger players, Wilson’s own son, Thompson Wilson, on bass and Aaron Goldstein on lead guitar and pedal steel, Wilson led the set with mostly his own material from the various LeE HARVeY OsMOND albums.

The song that really got my attention was Blue Moon Drive, a bluesy, haunting, minor keyed ballad sung for those you just don’t know when to stop their life in the fast lane. On Beautiful Scars, the song is presented with a samba beat backed with saxophones and vibes to give you that sexy, sly lounge feel. Although, without a drummer, the samba beat was lost and performed with a harder and grittier feel, giving it a completely different sound.

When thrust into a situation beyond a player’s control, the player’s true musicianship comes to light and the gentlemen of LeE HARVeY OsMOND did not disappoint, just rolling with the punches without batting an eye. But music only makes up 80% of the show: the other 20% is soaked up by the showmanship and authenticity the musicians show through how they address the crowd.

Throughout Wilson’s acoustic set, he told hilarious anecdotes of the life of a musician, making famous people look more famous, breaking the #1 rule of men by staring at Bruce Springsteen’s chest way longer than humanly allowed and how, if you’re famous and with him for longer than 15 minutes, he has an undying urge to, “scratch your face and punch you in the stomach.” Yes, that’s a direct quote from him.

By the end of the show, you felt as if you had just had a beer and poured your whole life out to each other until you finally realize how early it is when the rising sun hits the corner of your eye. Wilson and I engaged in conversation about his personal life, and he told me three years ago he found out he was adopted and had Mohawk in his blood. He seemed to be embracing his Native American heritage.

He was incredibly attentive and kind, listening to every question I asked. When tugged on the sleeve by a fan, he would politely excuse himself and do the same for them. Hence, he was as personable on stage as he was off.

At The Sportsmen’s Americana Foundation, our goal is to spread Americana music itself and its importance to the public and educate people on the vital genre. At the end of each interview, I like to ask what the musician thinks of Americana music. This was Wilson’s response: “Americana to me is kinda talkin’ about the human condition, ya know? And the vulnerability of who we are in a way that other music doesn’t really touch on. I find it to be fairly egoless and the stories they tell come with sensitivity that lends itself to the music. It’s still the people’s music.”

LeE HARVeY OsMOND will be back at The Sportsmen’s on June 29th, July 30th and August 30th of this year.

Believe me, you don’t want to miss them.

Americana Music Appreciation and Rock ‘n Roll workshop wrap up successful spring Programs!

Both the Rock ‘n Roll workshop and the Americana Music Appreciation 10 week programs drew to close in fine style, performing for family, friends and faculty at their respective venues, I-prep PS#198 and The Valley Community Center.

On Tuesday, May ninth at the Valley Community Center, under the direction of Katie Clark, accompanied by her father Mark on banjo as well as vocals, The Americana kids performed their season ending recital. Not only did the students perform six songs including one solo, several of the students learned to play the songs on instruments that they’ve been playing over the past couple of years and accompanied themselves on fiddle, clarinet, keyboard and guitar!

Thursday evening, May 18th, representatives from Alan Whitney and Tim Pitcher’s Rock ‘n Roll workshop finished up their program with a performance at PS#18 talent show, sponsored by Child and Adolescent Treatment Services, Building Brighter Futures After school Program. 15 acts from six public schools performed for an enthusiastic audience. The Rock ‘n Rollers band from our workshop was the first band that had ever performed at this very popular, annual talent show. The “Westside Band” as they were billed, did a great job performing an original tune that they had written and worked on with “A-dub” and Timmy P.

All of our instructors did a great job over the past year and I’d like to thank them all for their talent, hard work and dedication. Katie, Tim and Alan made their programs fun, educational and undoubtedly memorable for the kids. And again we want to give very special shout out and “thank you” to Allentown Music for providing the instruments, guitars and drum kit without which our program at PS#198 would not have been possible.

Don Nelson

Girls, Guns and Glory at the Tavern on May 25, 2017

Review by Lucy Bell

The members of Girls, Guns and Glory have thought long and hard about what is classified as American music. And it definitely shows on stage.

Girls Guns & GloryThe rockabilly band hailing from Boston is no joke when it comes to bringing back the roots of early rock n’ roll and country music. The best thing about Girls, Guns and Glory’s music is that they don’t sound like a tribute rockabilly band. They’ve really taken the sound of rockabilly and country music and have made it their own. The members don’t seem to just play what they classify as “American music”, but they seem to believe in it. That passion and understanding of the music translates to what they play.

They don’t just focus on music classified as American either, they focus on American culture.

Their slow ballad titled “John Henry” was one of the most impressive songs of the night, retelling the American folklore of African American “steel-drivin’ man”, John Henry, and the connection of the mundane life of being unemployed and stuck in a workless routine that feels impossible to get out of. Over the sound of clinking glasses and low chatter on the floor, the line, “gotta catch John Henry’s blues/ a man’s worth is how he works his tools” resonated with me like something I’ve never heard before. The use of John Henry’s story of courage and his never ending drive was absolutely perfect and a connection that isn’t used often that absolutely should be.

Another song that swept me off my feet was their cover of Hank Williams’, “Blue Eyes Cryin’ In the Rain”. Although it’s my favorite Hank Williams song, GGG’s version was borderline angelic, commanding the room’s attention to where you could hear a pin drop. The most staggering part of the version was the soft harmonies from bassist Paul Dilley and lead guitarist Cody Nilsen. Voice harmonies or instrument harmonies?

After the show, the boys obliged to talk to me, conversing about music, their history, how Ward Hayden was married at Graceland, the state of the word today their tour thus far.

The Sportmen’s Tavern is about Americana Music, so I asked them what Americana music meant to From that question alone came a fervent conversation about what exactly Americana music is and is it really a label or about the music?

“I’m not a huge fan of the label Americana because it could be anything that’s American”, states Josh Kiggs, leaning back on a chair with his feet up on a bench against The Sportsmen’s wall.

“It’s more of an umbrella term,” chimes in Ward Hayden.

“You know, going back to blues music, Son House, he could be considered rock n’ roll now ‘cause that guy’s more rock n’ roll than anything being played on the airwaves today. It’s real
and it’s raw. It’s American music,” states Cody Nilsen over a Labatt Blue. “To me, what draws me to any of it is soul and feel…for me it’s more of lyrical content,” adds Hayden. “It’s worthy of exploration.”

Girls, Guns and Glory’s newest album, “Love and Protest” is out now. You can visit their website

Americanarama Buffalo

Americana BuffaloHave you ever wanted to listen to a radio station that played local music? Local music by performers who play country music, folk, alternative country, blues or just plain rock’n’ roll?

If that thought has crossed your mind, you should check out Americanarama Buffalo, the new online radio station. With help from SAMF, the station just raised enough money to go online for the next two years.

You can check it out at these links: (that’s the Facebook player app)
(direct link).

Where else are you going to hear the Steam Donkeys, Mark Winsick, Pat Shea, Creek Bend, Raven, David Meinzer and Alison Pipitone, all on the same station?

Americanarama Buffalo is available 24 hours a day online. It was created by Elmer Ploetz for the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame/WNY.FM. Musicians looking to submit music can contact Elmer at

Meanwhile, keep an eye out for further collaboration between SAMF and Buffalo Americanarama — there’s a whole lot of music waiting to be played!

Elmer Ploetz


If you are an Active member and do not have a SAMF membership card, please email me at If you are unsure if you’re an Active member, please don’t hesitate to ask.

NOTE: To receive discounts, you must show your membership card. To enter to win tickets, you must be an Active member. And as always, please don’t hesitate to contact me at the email address above.


The discounts we’ve arranged at this time are:

  • Sportsmen’s Tavern – The first Tuesday of every month, all members who show their card at the door will get free admission to The Twang Gang.
  • Buffalo Ironworks – 10% off all food items
  • Record Theatre – 10% off all regular priced items
  • Allentown Music – 10% off all regular items
  • Smolen/Bonghi CPA – 10% off all tax preparation and accounting services
  • Korona Jewelry – 2 discounts
    • Watch batteries installed for $5 instead of $7.
    • 25% off the regular price of anything in stock.
  • Ellicott Small Animal Hospital 30% off regular exam
  • Flying Bison Brewery – 10% off
  • Buffalo History Museum – buy one regular admission and get one free.
  • American Reperatory Theater – $10 tickets (1/2 price)
  • Red Thread Theater – $15 ticket (regularly $25)
  • MusicalFare Theater – $5 off General Admiss. online. Enter SPORTSMEN in coupon code. Limit 4
  • Byrd House Restaurant – 10% off food
  • Arts at the Bakery – 10% off admission



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