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Welcome to the mountains

BRECKENRIDGE -Norton Buffalo, best known for his work as the harmonica player for the Steve Miller Band, has been spring skiing before.During a mid-tour stop in California years ago, Buffalo broke his collarbone on the hard slush and had to play the rest of the tour “in quite a bit of pain.”Presented by the Blue River Series of the Breckenridge Music Festival, Buffalo will be playing with slide-guitar specialist Roy Rogers at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge.”I don’t think I’ll be doing any skiing this time around,” Buffalo joked. “But I am looking forward to being in Colorado. Most of my time spent there has been spent driving through.”The duet will be playing stops in Steamboat Springs and Denver during their first stay in Colorado.Rogers and Buffalo are coming off an August release of “Roots of Our Nature,” after an 10-year break from the studio for the Grammy-nominated duo. The duet had completed two previous albums, “R &B” and “Travellin’ Tracks,” the latter coming in 1992.”When I look back at it, our first album sounded very studio,” Buffalo said. “Our second album, we decided to include some live tracks because there’s so much magic that happens on stage.””This album,” Rogers added, “we wanted to capture that live feel, all the while keeping it accessible to radio. We really felt we accomplished that in this recording.”Rogers started gaining popularity in the 1970s when he played with harmonica player David Burgin. Their music was featured on the “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” soundtrack before they split up.Rogers moved on to work with John Lee Hooker in the 1980s and 1990s, before completing solo releases. Hooker was sad to see him go, saying, “He gets real deep and funky, and he masters whatever he plays.”Rogers’ next solo act, a live recording with special guests (including Buffalo) will be released on DVD at the end of the summer.Buffalo toured with the Steve Miller Band for 21 years, before the band stopped touring two years ago. Along the way, the harpist also played with Johnny Cash, The Doobie Brothers, Kenny Loggins, The Marshall Tucker Band, David Grisman and Bonnie Raitt (he did a solo on “Runaway”).Being back together, the duo will play new tunes, but reach into the bag of old hits as well.”We’ve got new young folks coming to our crowd,” Buffalo said. “There’s some people who’ve seen me from the Steve Miller Band, and a lot of young kids are fans. Plus, we get the guys who are getting into playing the guitar or the harmonica and want to come check us out.”After the show Sunday, the duo will take some time off before reuniting in Portland, Ore. for the Waterfront Festival, where they will team up with Steve Miller for an all-acoustic set.Tickets for Sunday’s show are $18 in advance and $20 the day of the show, and can be purchased by calling (970) 547-3100.For more information about the Breckenridge Music Festival and the Blue River Series, check out http://www.breckenridgemusicfestival.com.Ryan Slabaugh can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 2457 or by e-mail at rslabaugh@summitdaily.com.


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