The Cincinnati-based ensemble Buffalo Wabs (as in “mobs”) and the Price Hill Hustle can be best described as ‘American’– from the mountains to Music Row, blues-gospel to traditional country, the Hustle combines parts of the American-born genre catalog to create an energetic experience every single night.
This four-piece moves from fast-paced, foot-stomping anthems to harmony-laden ballads and traditional dirges of spirit and labor. “The group started around the love of music that moves you,” says drummer/vocalist and band spokesman, Casey Campbell. “ The music accompanies the story; and sometimes the music is the story by which we can all connect to one another.”
With the release of their third album, Stranger in the Alps, to be released March 15, 2019, the Hustle aims to increase their original music portfolio while paying homage to select tunes that have had lasting impact on the band. “This album explores the first co-writing the band has undertaken,” says Campbell. “And through that collaborative process we’re beginning to find more complex voices, more adventurous tunes that bridge our influences even more than before.”
Splice Media Group is excited to be able to premiere the song, “Buffalo’s Canon” off of Stranger in the Alps. The steady building of the tempo, the group’s harmonies and the standout fiddle playing that is prevalent in this track, make this one of my favorite songs on the album.
Give the song a listen and then read our interview with Casey Campbell, drummer for Buffalo Wabs & the Price Hill Hustle below.
You’ve got one of the more unusual band names that I have come across. So tell me how the name came about?
Casey Campbell: (Laughs) Well, that’s kind of a two- parter, Buffalo Wabs (it’s pronounced Wabs as in Sobs) um..is an actual person, he’s the front man of the band, he plays the lead guitar and lead vocalist. His name is Matt Wabnitz and he’s been Wabs his whole life and since I’ve known him, 12-15 years now and I’ve only ever known him as Wabs. So, Buffalo Wabs comes from him, and the Price Hill Hustle refers to the neighborhood we all sort of know each other from. Wabs is from west Cincinnati and Price Hill is a neighborhood over there. We used to do a lot of hanging out together in a bar called the Crow’s Nest. It’s the oldest Irish bar in Cincinnati and its on the west side in Price Hill and that’s where we started..making some music and playing some tunes and when the band came around to forming, that’s the name we took.
So Stranger in the Alps is your third album, correct?
So how is this one different than your two previous albums?
Well, our first album, the EP is a collection of old folk tunes and some traditional music we’d come across. I had just started writing for my own personal music and we hadn’t done a lot of writing for the band, so the first album is kind of a necessity album of we’ve got to get something out there, we’ve got to get some stuff recorded. The second album is a live disc that we started incorporating some originals and umm….as well as some traditionals we would do. We like some old stuff and some obscure music, sometimes by well known people, but we enjoy digging through the catalog and finding something that fits our sound. So even with this album, Stranger in the Alps, we still have a couple of those kind of songs, but we’re moving more towards more original music and we’re working on our next LP, which will hopefully be out at the end of this year and it will be our first full original album.
So..a little bit more about this album, what is the song you love the most, either to perform or that you wrote..off this album?
Off this album, the song is “The Wind”, I think that’s my favorite cut off this album for a couple of reasons. One, because it’s a co-write between our bass player and Wabs, our guitar player. It’s got a completely different sound than anything we’ve gone for thus far, I feel. One of the things that really strikes me, is the production quality of the song and the way it came out on the album, it has a really rich, full sound. I think it’s the song that’s going to take a lot of people by surprise, even people who know our sound, because the song has more of a lilting ballad feel. I like performing it because it adds a different kind of musicality to our shows.
What would you like people to take away from this album when they’re listening to it?
Umm….hmm…what do I want people to take away from the album? Well, I hope they enjoy as an album, as a piece of collected material, we’ve got a couple of old tunes, we’ve got a couple of surprises on there, we’ve got some special guests playing some fiddle and harp on there. I hope just musically they really enjoy what we’re trying to do with American music or Americana, or whatever you want it to be. I hope that folks that may be brand new to our music, that they particularly enjoy our writing style and where we’re going with it.
You’ve mentioned Folk and Americana sound, but describe your sound in 3 words. Are either of those words you’d use to describe your sound?
Three words..it’s been really tough for us, a lot of people ask, what do you sound like or what kind of music do you play?To me, truly, it is Melting Pot American. We love all this stuff, old folk singers, old blues singers, but I grew up listening to a lot of gospel (my dad was a preacher) harmonies are real thick to our sound, there’s definitely a traditional gospel feel to what we do. We’re also kind of rowdy Hillbilly, put your foot through the floor kind of stuff, so umm..it’s really hard for me personally to nail it down.
If you could collaborate with any living artist in a different genre, who would it be?
Oooh whooo….umm….that’s a good one. In a different genre? The first one that came to mind was Randy Newman. The second one that came to mind is Tony Bennett. I think Randy Newman would be fun, especially with the band.
Any particular reason you chose Tony Bennett?
Well, I play drums in this band, but I’ve been a singer my whole life, that’s really what I love and what I know best and that’s kind of guilty pleasure, he’s getting up there, but he can still get to it and I love that old standard music. I used to sing it myself.
Who’s on your playlist currently?
Let’s see….I almost need to pull it up. We’re listening to a lot of M. Ward, delving into his catalog, some good buddies of ours Ona, they’re fire right now and I love their sound. And another buddy of ours, John R Miller and the Engine Lights. Man, oh man, that man can write a song.
On March 15th, you’ll be able to buy Stranger in the Alps here. This is an album you won’t want to miss, with the musicianship and harmonies that this quartet produces, you’d be a fool to pass on it.