Roots-blues duo happy to be reunited
Spending a good part of the last three decades on stage, both Roy Rogers and Norton Buffalo are comfortable on stage with their respective bands.
Their comfort zones increase considerably, however, when the two musicians perform as a roots-blues duo, which they will do Saturday in Grass Valley.
“We get along so well. The way we relate to each other onstage is great, and we have fun,” Rogers said Tuesday. “The interaction is important. It doesn’t always go this way with musicians.”
They schedule duo gigs whenever they can, in between gigs by their respective bands.
“We mix and match,” Rogers said. “The first time Norton and I went to Australia was as a duo. Last year I went back there with my band.”
Conversely, Rogers has taken his band several times to Norway. He and Buffalo will go there as a duo for the first time in August.
To say they both have busy schedules is an understatement.
Blues and roots singer-slide guitarist Rogers heads the Delta Rhythm Kings and produces records, including the Grammy-nominated Ramblin’ Jack Elliott’s “The Long Ride,” which received a nomination for Best Traditional Folk Recording in 1999.
His “I’m In the Mood” for John Lee Hooker and Bonnie Raitt, and Hooker’s “Chill Out” both won Grammys. Rogers has earned eight Grammy nominations so far, six as a producer and two as an artist.
The Novato-based Rogers has produced and recorded with musicians including Keith Richards, Albert Collins, Carlos Santana, Sammy Hagar and Raitt.
Harmonica player Buffalo, who has been in the Steve Miller Band for at least 20 years, heads The Knockouts. In addition, Buffalo has contributed to more than 100 albums by artists as diverse as Raitt, Marshall Tucker, Johnny Cash, Kenny Loggins, Juice Newton and the Doobie Brothers.
Buffalo has appeared in films including “The Rose” and “Heavens’ Gate,” as well as commercials, television shows and film soundtracks.
The two met in 1974 when Roger’s then-duo (Rogers and Burgin) opened for Buffalo’s band, The Stampede, at many shows in the Bay Area.
“We became fast friends,” said Rogers, who lives about 45 minutes away from Buffalo in the Bay Area. “But we didn’t start performing together as an acoustic duo until much later (1987) because Norton was off making movies.”
Four years later, their debut album, “R&B,” was released. One of Rogers’ songs on that album, “Song for Jessica,” received a Grammy nomination for Best Country Instrumental Performance.
Their second CD, “Travelin’ Tracks,” was released the next year in 1992. Their third CD should be out by late summer.
Roger’s eighth solo, “Slideways,” to be released March 24, features Buffalo on half the songs.
“Norton’s featured as a soloist. He did a great job,” Rogers said.
For now, the two friends find time for about 20 duo shows a year.
“It’s very special when we get together. The sparks fly in a good direction,” Rogers said. “It’s a special friendship and musical relationship between us. We can prod each other, if I can use that word, to take it to another level.”
Know and Go
WHAT: Norton Buffalo and Roy Rogers
WHEN: Saturday at 9 p.m. Doors open at 8 p.m.
WHERE: Center for the Arts, 314 W. Main St., Grass Valley
ADMISSION: $18 advance and $20 at the door. Tickets at Foggy Mountain Music, BriarPatch, The Herb Shop, at the door or at http://www.TicketWeb.com
INFORMATION: 274-8384 or 583-2801
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