Smokin' Buddha
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Smokin' Buddha

Band Alternative Acoustic

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Sep
22
Smokin' Buddha @ Brown's Island

Richmond, Virginia, USA

Richmond, Virginia, USA

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Music

The best kept secret in music

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Discography

Off the Hookah (EP)
Swim in Your Soul a While

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Carmine and Bleecker Streets in Manhattan's Greenwich Village have born witness to the development of some of the greatest artistic surfacings. Once again they have overseen the emergence of an unlikely, unusual, but powerful musical force.

The four men that comprise Smokin' Buddha have chosen this as their home for different reasons, but all feed on the creative energy of their musical playground. A palpable feeling hangs in the air knowing that Jack Kerouack, Bob Dillan, and Paul Simon [to name a few] have cut their teeth just around the corner.

The beating heart of Smokin' Buddha is its founding members and songwriting powerhouse Wes Shippee and Shawn Burnette. These two are living proof that, in some instances, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Wes is an immanently skilled musician. He combines astounding skills as a songwriter, pianist and vocalist to bring a unique asset to the band. Over the years he has honed his skills while constantly growing as an artist. He has studied at both Berklee College of Music and, more recently, at NYU. His music is the fusion of soulful genuine emotion (matching that of his lyrical counterpart) and technically flawless craftsmanship. Prior to Smokin' Buddha, Wes performed with Crosspoint touring extensively in Europe as a solo artist and setting his hometown of Richmond, Virginia, on fire with his talent.

Smokin' Buddha marks a full circle for Shawn. A songwriter at heart, he spent his early career acting as a journeyman singer/songwriter for several bands, some of which have yielded major national acts today. He never found a clean musical match for his deeply introspective, spiritual, and often somber lyrics and style. Since then he has taken a long artistic path including acting, dancing, and singing on national tour and Broadway and most recently singing with several big bands in New York City. Still, nothing matched the cathartic experience of writing and performing his own music.

A chance meeting through Shawn's [now] wife and inspiration for "December" and "Let Me Be the One" sparked the fire that became Smokin' Buddha. After a rocky beginning the two became inseparable, as well as artistic sounding boards for one another.

As the story is told, nobody quite remembers how, but Wes was given the task of putting music to "December," a lyric Shawn had written previously. Not only did it become a staple in the bands show, but instantly revealed the creative synergy between the two.

After a year of writing and development and defining of the balance between guitar- and piano-driven sound, the pair premiered as Smokin' Buddha. A friend joked that if Dave Matthews and Ben Folds had a baby and Adam Duritz was the god father they would have no choice but to name the child Smokin' Buddha.

Soon after, the lineup was rounded out by adding Ian Wood on bass and Curt Kasabian on drums. Smokin' Buddha was now all grown up.

Growing pains over and now ready to fly; the guys are set to release "Off the Hookah" EP. It will include "December," the ballad familiar to fans that started it all. This deeply reflective song laments the mistakes we all make in love and hope not to repeat. "Adam Said," a frank commentary on loyalty and honor in the entertainment industry, is followed up by "Fatherless Child." The band's most recognizable song "Thank You," a haunting dialogue and emotional cleansing of inner demons, rounds out this ambitious offering.

The full album "Swim in Your Soul a While" is in the works and, after several delays, is expected to be released in November of 2006.

"[Smokin' Buddha] speaks to the audience as if they are telling a long, intricately woven story that exposes the deep recesses of their spirits...

...Look for Smokin' Buddha to make an impact."

-Marie Weiss, NYU