Born and raised in the small town of Sandy Creek in upstate NY...
Buck's first inspiration to play pedal steel guitar came from his dad when he was 11 years old. His dad(James),
a well known steel guitarist in the northeast for 40
plus years, also
provided some six string guitar and basic theory instruction and insisted that he work on those two things for a
couple of years before taking on
pedal steel. His dad was also a huge Ernest Tubb fan and from those records he first learned of Buddy Emmons and Buddy Charleton.
It was then
he decided what he wanted to do and dreamed of moving to Nashville one day. Those two great players along with Lloyd Green, Pete Drake,
Doug Jernigan and Curly Chalker were
his early influences.
He began playing with well know
local favorites "Mike White and the Sliter Brothers" band at age 15 and would travel to Wheeling, W.VA. once or twice
a year to play on the
famous "Wheeling Jamboree" radio show . Needless to say it was quite a thrill for a 15 year old kid. Around the time he graduated
from high school, the group signed with a
booking agency based out of Detroit, MI and traveled around the country performing. During one of their
frequent stops in Detroit, Buck was offered a position with popular locals
"Kansas City Southern" and moved there
soon after, playing six and seven nights a week.
A couple of years later while living and working in Detroit, resident friend and guitarist, Vern
Pilder told Buck about a job opening in Nashville with a new country singer named
John Anderson. After a few phone calls, an audition...
which consisted of riding
around with the band for a few days to see if everyone could get along, he was offered the job and
moved to Nashville in 1982. The childhood
dream of moving to Nashville had come true!
After touring and recording with John for 8 years, Buck went on to either
tour or record with many artist's such as... Rob Crosby, Martin DelRay, Bailey and The Boys,
Chely Wright, Michelle Wright, Keith
Urban and The Ranch, Jerry Kilgore, Matt King, Sting, Marcus Hummon, South 65, Farmers Daughter, Confederate Railroad, Third Day,
Lou Harrington, Bill Anderson, Mark Miller of Sawyer Brown, LeAnn Rimes, Dierks Bentley and is currently approaching his 18th year with Lyle Lovett and his Large
In 2006 and 2007, Buck added two major motion picture sound tracks to his credits due in large part to his association with drumming legend
Russ Kunkel, who also has been
touring with the "Large Band" for the past few years. Buck and several other "Large Band" members collaborated with L.A. session musicians and legendary
film score producer,
James Newton Howard, to work on the movie sound tracks for: RV (Runaway Vacation) - Sony/Columbia Pictures and Charlie
Wilson's War - Universal Pictures.
Buck say's it was a great and humbling experience and recalls thinking... "Hollywood
is a long way from Sandy Creek, NY".
Just like any other story, there have been hard
times and Nashville can be a tough place. Luckily, Buck has always had a liking for the mechanical side of the Pedal Steel,
due in large part to the fact that where he grew up there wasn't anyone nearby to "fix"
things if something broke or needed tweaking, and also due to the fact that his Dad was also
a part time gunsmith and passed on some his "handyman" knowledge. So... when work involving touring
or recording would slow down, Buck would keep himself busy helping
others with repairs and/or restorations and for several years could be seen at one
of Bobbe Seymour's shops off and on to lend a hand. Buck has also worked with friends and
fellow musicians, Duane Marrs and Jimmie Crawford taking things
a step farther with assisting in designing and building pedal steel guitars. Buck has built two personal guitars
for himself which are... a Marr's in the mid 90's
and a JCH in 2001. Jimmie and Buck built the JCH together and is currently Buck's main guitar. All in all, Buck feels lucky and
says... " Regardless of whether I'm playing steel or
working on one, It's what I enjoy. I consider myself to be very fortunate to have met so many great people. I hope it continues
for a long time! "