Quite The ‘Que

Quite The ‘Que

Bluesman brings comfort, down-home sound


When Fayetteville bluesman Buddy Shute was pondering a name for the new album from Buddy Shute & The Motivators, he was searching for something that would give an idea of what the band sounded like. A mix of Memphis blues and soul, marinated in the spice of New Orleans, and tinged with the rock ‘n roll and rockabilly blend of the Ozarks, Shute decided “Bar-B-Que” was as good a descriptor as any to denote the flavor of the Motivators’ second album, which debuted late this summer.

“I really love all kinds of music,” the band’s founder enthuses.

“There’s only 12 notes, and everything you hear is based on those 12 notes,” Shute continues, citing the oft-quoted adage. “And that’s kind of the way I’d like to approach it — it’s not like I’m in a category where I have to do this or I have to do that. Just whatever feels good and sounds right, that’s what I’m after.”

Their bandlander is more than a bit modest, though, says vocalist Brenda Baskin.

“Buddy doesn’t brag about himself, so I always try to make it a point” to note his International Blues Challenge wins, Baskin proudly dotes. His songwriting has her singing his praises, as well.

“He is a tunesmith as much as he is a writer,” she shares. “But as a songwriter myself, there are lines in songs that he writes that I’m just like, ‘Oh my gosh, how did he come up with that?’ But the other thing is I find that Buddy starts out with tunes. And during this pandemic, he’s calling and going, ‘I got 15 tunes, we gotta write some words!’ But I like the way we kind of bounce off of each other when I’m writing with him because he will have an idea, maybe a loose idea, and then he might say a couple of words that were going through his head, just as filler, but then something will just strike me, and then we start working off of each other.”

For “Bar-B-Que,” luckily the players were in the studio last year, well before the pandemic prevented them from getting together. A springtime session at Fayetteville’s East Hall Recording Studio laid down some of the tracks. Life and gigs got in the way before the Motivators could finish up the recordings in the fall of 2019, just in time for the pandemic to keep them from performing to promote the album when it came out this summer.

To infuse the record with a live performance feel, some of the tunes were only run through one time, and that’s the cut that ended up on the recording. But whether the cut happened once or six or seven times, Shute wanted his band members to have creative input on this album, he shares.

Brenda Baskin, vocalist for Buddy Shute and the Motivators, reveals the whole theme for the new album, released Aug. 10, “worked itself out” around Shute’s title song and Baskin’s serendipitous picture of a barbecue stand in the middle of nowhere — “like on oasis in the desert.”
The Motivators also comprise Mark McGhee on harmonica, Steve Baskin on bass, Randy “Dobie” Reese on drums and the man himself on lead vocals and guitar.
(Courtesy Photo)

“These are the kindest fellas,” Baskin says warmly. “And they’re not only really good musicians — and I’ve been around a lot of musicians because I’m married to one — but these guys are so good to me. It makes it fun, and it keeps me brave. Sometimes musicians, they’re exacting task masters — and that’s a good thing. But with this combination, we try to do our best always, but it’s because everybody’s so encouraging, is what keeps me in the band.”

Though the Motivators have only “officially” been together a few years, they were all good friends or played together here and there before their official lineup, which led to a camaraderie Shute hopes comes through on the new album. Besides the feel-good music, a few tunes you can dance to, music that’s fun to listen to is what Shute says he hopes the listener picks up from “Bar-B-Que.” And while the name may evoke very specific images for listeners from Shute’s home regions of Northwest Arkansas or southwest Tennessee, a global response to the album — from places like Russia, China, France and the Netherlands — shows Shute that maybe the idea of good company gathered around good food, with good tunes thrown in, resonates pretty strongly beyond our hog-loving region.

“With barbecue, especially in Memphis, there was a barbecue place on just about every corner and it was like a neighborhood thing,” Shute remembers of his days east of the Mississippi River. “You could go in and sit down and eat, and just get barbecue sauce all over your shirt. It was very relaxed, a good time. And I’m hoping that that kind of image projects worldwide. That’s what I have in mind.”



Buddy Shute & the Motivators


WHEN — Shute and McGhee next perform at Gotahold Brewing in Eureka Springs Oct. 24. Keep up to date on Shute’s website.

WHERE — Album available for streaming on your favorite platform; physical CD purchase at Shute’s website

COST — $15

INFO — buddyshute.com

Categories: Music