‘None of us are spring chickens’: New Milford band celebrates 50th anniversary
NEW MILFORD — A popular hometown band that performs in the tri-state area will celebrate its golden anniversary Saturday.
Buck Edwards and the Buckshots, founded by resident Buck Oviatt, will present a free concert at 4 p.m. on the Village Green.
The concert will feature a variety of music, including rock and roll, country and swing, as well as feature the vocals of Tina Rose for a few tunes, according to Edwards.
“We would’ve loved to have put something bigger on for the anniversary,” Edwards said, but plans for the type of event the band envisioned isn’t possible due to COVID.
“And Yankee Stadium wasn’t available,” lead guitarist Bruce Skoog quipped in the phone interview during a rehearsal at a band member’s studio.
After Edwards spoke with Mayor Pete Bass about the milestone, they came up with the idea of the free concert on the Green.
“We’re offering this concert to promote the vitality of our downtown and offer the public the opportunity to come down on the Green and enjoy a late-season concert with masks and social distancing,” Bass said.
Several of the band’s CDs will be available to purchase, with 25 percent of the sales to benefit the American Legion, Ezra Woods Post 31 in town.
Edwards founded the award-winning band in October 1970 after returning from serving in the Army.
“We bought (my little brother, Allan James, also known as Allan Rapp) a set of drumsticks in the afternoon and we played our first gig that night,” Edwards related, noting his brother had never played drums before but kept the beat on a snare drum that night.
From that moment, the band planted its roots and developed a following that has continued through today.
“It feels good to play,” Edwards said of what it’s like to still be in the industry 50 years later. He is lead vocalist and also plays lead guitar and rhythm.
“I’m thankful we have the ability to get out there and rock it out with the best of them,” he said. “None of us are spring chickens.”
Over the years, band members have come and gone, some to pursue music with their own band or work professionally. Among those is Rapp, who left the band, but returns to perform when needed.
Edwards’ brother will join the band Saturday for the 50th anniversary performance.
“I just love the band,” said resident Connie Main, whose husband, Jim, first met Edwards some 40 years ago through their interest in comic books. “The band members are just so talented, every single one of them.”
Connie said she appreciates the country music the band performs, and especially values many of the songs Edwards has penned, including one he wrote following the Sandy Hook tragedy. “It’s just beautiful.”
Before being drafted in the mid-1960s, Edwards moved to Naugatuck and became involved in the music scene there. Once in the Army, he performed there.
Upon his return home, musicians he had played with in the past reconnected. The rest is history.
In 1980, Edwards met Rose while the Buckshots were performing as the first country band to sing at the former Hayloft, now home of The Cookhouse.
“She used to follow us around,” said Edwards, who six years ago began dating Rose. “And she’d come up and sing, but not stay for the whole set.”
Rose is known for her performances of Patsy Cline songs, including “Walking After Midnight,” which she will perform Saturday, and Janis Joplin’s “Bobby McGee.”
Buck Edwards and the Buckshots has recorded numerous CDs under its own label over the years. Among them are three original CDs, two more original CDs in the works, a gospel CD and a handful of cover albums.
Barry Roma, of Bridgewater, produced the band’s first record and has performed with the band as needed over the years.
“When you play with the guys on stage, you know who is going to do what when,” Roma said. “There’s a chemistry.”
One of Edwards’ songs, “What’s In Love for Me,” written in 1998, won an award at the Paramount Music Group in Nashvillle, Tenn. And a song he wrote with past harmonica player Dave Armstrong earned royalties in 2011-12.
Locally, the band has performed at two of the biggest events in the Greater New Milford area, the Bridgewater Country Fair and the New Milford Village Fair Days.
Edwards is a member of BMI, the second -largest music organization in the world.
The band’s founder said what he enjoys most about music is how it affords him the chance to “express your inner self and get your feeling out through a song, when you’re writing a song, you can express yourself in different ways than you can speak.”
“And what makes us feel good — for all of us in the band — is we can put a smile on someone’s face and see them dancing,” Edwards related. “That’s when we know we’ve done good.”
Concert-goers are asked to wear masks, maintain social distance and bring blankets or chairs.