Buffalo Nickel began as a three piece in 1999 with three songwriter's: Steve Deaton, Emily Graham & Clinton Kirby. The three met at the Univerity of Southern Mississippi and had all played in a variety of bands with and without each other over the years in the Hattiesburg area. As Buffalo Nickel, the three piece established a sound that fell somewhere between folk, rock-n-roll and country. They began performing new material written by each of the songwriters, as well as covering songs by artists like John Prine, Robbie Fulks (the anti-Nashville country singer/songwriter) and even included an acoustic version of Aerosmith's 'Sweet Emotion' in their set. There was a definite tongue-in-cheek charm that gradually won over larger and larger audiences but there was also an unmistakeable sincerity and talent that made songs like Emily Graham's 'Lucinda Williams' break your heart and give you a hug all at the same time. Gradually Elliott Crawford joined them on the drums and Chris Clark on bass. As a high performance five piece, they made Hal & Mal's Restaurant in Jackson their home away from home. And month to month drew larger and larger crowds that were always enthusiastic for old familiar country tunes from Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings as well as the evergrowing originals songlist from Buffalo Nickel.
With a line up change eventually placing Brad Clark on drums, the newly dubbed HONKNROLL five-piece continued playing to enthusiastic audiences and began recording material for their 2002 release Up On Blocks. Before the album's release the band was busy taking their music across the country to Nashville, New York and Austin, performing in the CMJ Music Fest and South By Southwest Music Festival. The years of working together as friends and this new, growing success had turned the band into a very close family of sorts. It was a very happy time for the band. Great opportunities seemed to offer themselves up every week. But then a tragedy happened.
Right after the band received the first shipment of their newly pressed album Up On Blocks, Emily Graham, one of the principal songwriter's and undoubtebly the most loved member of Buffalo Nickel died in car accident. Because of her unbievaable talent as a songwriter and more importantly, because of her generous and loving friendship, Emily had truly been the heart of the band. The joy of having the first Buffalo Nickel album in hand was very bittersweet. At the request of Emily's family, Buffalo Nickel played her song 'Lucinda Williams' at her funeral and followed with a medley of gospel songs that helped some to smile through the tears. That night at the hotel the band talked about Emily and about how she had always said that she lived for the band. Playing music with her friends and writing songs was what made her happy. Although there was a hopeless feeling lingering after losing Emily, the band decided that it would feel even more hopeless if Buffalo Nickel disbanded and let go of this family of friends that had been so important to Emily. And so, the cd release parties went on as scheduled, dedicated to Emily of course, and after some time of recovery the band continued playing with the re-entering of Elliott Crawford on drums and Brad Clark moving to guitar and vocals.
The new five piece continues to play to enthusiactic audiences and has just finished recording their brand new album Noise & Conversation which features three songs written by Emily Graham and twelve songs written by the five surviving song writers in the group. With Emily's spirit still holding the band together, Buffalo Nickel has weathered alot but is still going strong. The new album stretches the band's varied sound even further covering the spectrum from George Jones style drinkin' songs to anti-war, rock anthem. With Clinton Kirby's steel guitar solos searing and soothing your ear throughout, rich vocal harmonies, clever and heartfelt lyrics at every turn and truly inspired moments of musicianship HONKNROLL has been redifined on this album and in Buffalo Nickel's live performances. But still, the band's sound remains infused with the same heart and charm of the original three-piece and with new songs being written every day and a wealth of 4-track tapes containing unreleased songs from Emily, the band is sure to continue honkin' and rollin' for some time to come. VIVA LA BUFFALO NICKEL!!!