In high school, Zach Preston, Nathaniel Davis and Ryan Gilbert learned how to play music by covering their favorite bands, The Black Keys and Kings of Leon. Their interpretations of the songs evolved, and eventually, they started writing their own music. Buffalo Rodeo was born.
The guys played battle-of-the-bands competitions and started college at Western Kentucky University in their hometown of Bowling Green. Even with the weight of coursework and studies, their devotion to music grew, as did their commitments.
Nate’s girlfriend, Jordan Reynolds, even joined the band in 2012. She moved to Bowling Green to join Buffalo Rodeo.
“They were playing a lot of shows and wanted a keyboard player, and I just never went back,” she said.
The band rounded out its lineup with bass player Patrick Duncan and released its debut EP, the nostalgically titled Home Videos, and embarked on regional tours.
“We’re extremely on the DIY level still,” Reynolds said, explaining that the band learned quickly not to take the generosity of fans for granted when on tour. “It’s just amazing that people will host us and cook for us and buy us beer. Another thing I’ve learned is when you can take a shower, do it. Because you don’t know the next time you can.”
What is remarkable about this young band is how self-assured its music is. Home Videos is a rock album unafraid to let loose chunky guitar riffs or go for entire songs with drummer Ryan Gilbert battering unrelentingly on his cymbals. It has mixed its energetic anthems with the male-female harmonies of singers Preston and Reynolds, a back-and-forth style reminiscent of bands like Of Monsters and Men or The xx.
This combination is unique in the best way; when you hear it for the first time, it just makes sense. It takes a moment to realize you haven’t heard anything quite like it before.
Reynolds said she has always loved complementary male and female vocals.
“[Preston] will sing a solo part, and I’ll sing a solo part, and that back-and-forth for me always comes from growing up and listening to Fleetwood Mac and The Carpenters and those malefemale types of things,” she said.
But classic rock is not the only genre that inspires her.
“I’m a huge musical theater geek, and I love harmonizing,” she said. “I was in choir all throughout high school, middle school and college. I think that [background] also has some influence here. Harmonies are cool, so why not do them?”
The band’s confidence has only grown since that first EP.
“Now we know who we are as people and as fellow musicians. And as far as music goes, I think we’ve just been listening a lot more, being influenced by bands that are just really good songwriters,” Reynolds said.
After touring back home from SXSW — including a stop in Oklahoma Thursday night at Blue Note Lounge — Buffalo Rodeo will put its musical growth to work and focus on writing its next album.