After a delicious stone baked pizza and Scottish ale at Thunderhead Brewery, my daughter and I ambled across the street to Buffalo Records. Arriving a bit early, we headed to the back of the store to buy a record and get it signed. Cody and Kimber, his wife, greeted us and asked us to stay and chat a bit to keep them company. Kimber showed us the jewelry she had made using donated guitar strings. “I just made this one in the car on the way here,” she said, showing us a pretty piece of jewelry with a tree motif, “Todd Snider donated these strings.”
Cody pointed out my Folk Alliance t-shirt and told me how much he liked it. “I couldn’t make it this year. At the last minute, Greg Brown asked me to do a couple shows with him and I wasn’t going to pass that up!” We chatted a bit more about Illinois where they live and I used to live and then it was time for the show.
Cody headed to the stage armed with his guitar and harmonica and opened with “Everybody in This Town”. The small but enthusiastic crowd swayed with the music. Afterwards, Cody greeted us with, “This is the most beautiful Kearney, Nebraska Buffalo Records crowd I ever had!”
“When a woman dates a musician,” Cody said, “and then marries a musician and stays with him for 10 years, and rides in the car with him for 10 hours to a show, she deserves at least a song about her.” Then he proceeded to sing a very lovely song to his wife called “Backseat”, meaning everything else takes a backseat to his relationship with her.
Next up was “Assembly Line Blues”. “I worked a long time on a farm, but only four days in a factory. I never got a paycheck, but I got this song.” Several great songs followed this one including, “Postcards”, “Two Sides of the Story”, “People N’ Places”, “The Twenty Dollar Bill” “Umbrella” and “26 Cops”.
At one point he looked at me and said, “I don’t have any songs about Nebraska, but you know a lot about folk music. Maybe you can tell me if this song was on Nebraska (the album by Bruce Springsteen).” The song was “My Hometown” and of course it is on Born in the USA, but that didn’t matter as it was masterfully played and sung and we all enjoyed it.
The best thing I took away from this show (other than the fantastic music) was something he said during “26 Cops”. Toward the end of the song he has a long spoken part of which I will paraphrase a part:
“I’ve had people tell me that music is dead, that record stores don’t matter, and that songs can’t change the world. When somebody tells me that I want to get as far away from them as possible! But I’m here to tell you that music isn’t dead, record stores are powerful, and songs can change the world!”
Amen Brother, Amen.