It’s about who you know

Buffalo Tree plays regular gigs every week at the Mansion

Three of the four Buffalo Tree members are bartenders in Kingston.
Image by: Tiffany Lam
Three of the four Buffalo Tree members are bartenders in Kingston.

Shayne, Van, Matt and Dylan are musicians during the day and three are even bartenders at night.

Not the most original story, but that isn’t to say they can’t rock a tune. I met Shayne Godin and Dylan Carquez over a casual beer at the Red House on King St. W. on Wednesday and I was initially surprised at how softspoken the band members were — they weren’t at all what I thought they would be.

Godin, Carquez and their two friends make up Kingston band Buffalo Tree, a Monday night regular at the Mansion. Carquez tends bar for the Mansion, while Godin works at the Brass. All four guys like to spend time at the Toucan though.

“We spend a lot of time drinking and getting to know each other,” Godin said.

The band members have seen the effects of alcohol addiction first hand through some of their experience working as bartenders in Kingston, although they’ve never experienced it themselves.

“We sing a lot about substance abuse because we’ve seen a lot of people go down that road,” he said. “But I do know what it’s like to be in a hole and want to get out.”

At this point, I was hesitant to ask them for more details because it seemed like they were becoming increasingly uncomfortable.

The band got their Mansion gig, which they landed a year and half ago, thanks to their connections.

“We kind of got hooked up by knowing people,” Godin said. “We’re all sort of friends with the owner [of the Mansion] Casey.”

Little did I know that becoming a regular bar musician was widely dependent on who you knew. The band’s music is hard to put a label on, Carquez said. But the jazz and country elements infused with their solid rock base gives it a Canadiana feel.

Since the band got together in 2010, they’ve written over 30 songs and plan to release a full-length album by December.

“When the four of us get together to write a song, it never ends up where we think it’s going to be,” Carquez said.

Just like this interview — I felt like it ended up somewhere totally different than anything it was supposed to be. Buffalo Tree play the Mansion every Monday in October.


Buffalo Tree, The Mansion

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