Michael Buffalo Smith

Art, Craft, and Song | Saturday, May 16, 2:10 - 3:00, Carolina Meeting Room A
Genre(s) History Music Nonfiction

Michael Buffalo Smith hails from Spartanburg, S.C., also the hometown of The Marshall Tucker Band. It was that group that first inspired Buffalo to write about music. Since then, he has published six books, including Prisoner of Southern Rock: A Memoir, and his new book, Rebel Yell: An Oral History of Southern Rock, both from Mercer University Press. Smith is also a performing songwriter and publisher of KUDZOO Magazine.

Book Title: Rebel Yell: An Oral History of Southern Rock

Michael Buffalo Smith begins Rebel Yell aptly with an insight of Charlie Daniels’, that the brotherhood between Southern musicians is the unifying force behind the genre “Southern Rock” more than any single musical style shared by bands from the South,” says Galadrielle Allman, author of Please Be With Me: A Song For My Father. “Smith then invites us to sit at the table with the heroes and legends of the diverse genre: the players, technicians, crewmembers and friends. I know and love many of them, and they are captured faithfully. Listening to the rambling tale of the extended family my father Duane and his Allman Brothers gave birth to in 1969, the power of the brotherhood is palpable. It is fitting that this history is expressed in the vivid voices of the people who lived it, many of whom we have since lost. There is no prouder Southern tradition than the love of storytelling, except maybe the love of playing music together. There are many twists and turns in this tale, some funny, some tragic, all fascinating and in the end, inspiring.”

Rebel Yell: An Oral History of Southern Rock presents the story of a musical genre born in the backwoods, highways, and swamps of Macon, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida, in 1969 and peaking in popularity during the 1970s. This history of Southern Rock is told by the musicians, roadies, fans, and recording industry folk who lived it. Drawn from literally hundreds of hours of interviews with the author, the book focuses on the “big four”—The Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Marshall Tucker Band, and The Charlie Daniels Band—while delving into the careers of other great bands like The Outlaws, Bonnie Bramlett, Cowboy, Wet Willie, and Molly Hatchet. The story is enhanced by the photography of Kirk West, Bill Thames, and John Gellman, including many never-before-published images. Smith offers a series of “Top 10” lists of the best Southern Rock vocalists, songwriters, guitarists, drummers, bass and keyboard players, plus a “Top 25” songlist.