Alaskan singer and songwriter, Buddy Tabor

Although this particular blog entry was first posted on August 22, 2010 directly after Buddy’s Juneau concert, I’m posting it here again because it’s one of of the last times I had seen Buddy; he passed away last night, February 5th, 2012, in the comfort of his home in Juneau surrounded by his wife, Jeanette,  family and close friends.

The big wave of Buddy’s passing will move throughout Alaska, Canada and parts of the Lower 48.  His music, life and character touched many lives; we will greatly miss this man!  The following was the original blog entry a year and a half ago:

To tell the truth, I was never a fan of Buddy’s, even with all his CD’s of songs, his practicing in the living room, on the front porch, back porch and garden, with his quirky sense of humor.  I wasn’t a fan until years later in 2006 when he was warming up for the upcoming house concert we were sponsoring;  I walked into my kitchen and he was sitting on a high stool playing this song:  “Box of Pain.”  He had his eyes closed; the lyrics, tune and guitar picking bowled me over.  I was stunned.  I burst into tears.   I’ve been bowled over since.  How is it that it took almost 30 years of hearing his music that I couldn’t really HEAR his music?  I guess I was too close to the guy or something, I dunno.

Buddy is an old family friend – met him way back in 1972 at the Zach Gordon’s Teenage Club where I used to play racketball and developed my black & whites in their darkroom; I was standing next to Buddy whom I had never met or seen before and asked him:  “Well, who are you, buddy?”  He answered nonchalantly:  “Buddy.”  And I said to myself “Yeah, sure…!”  and I walked away.  The next time I saw him was a couple of years later at the underground coffee shop called “Gandolf’s.”  He was playing out of tune to a small crowd.  He became friends with my then boyfriend, Bill, and since then our families grew up with one another and I came to  know him, his wife Jeanette and their two sons Jesse and Joshua.

Under Artstream Cultural Resources, we sponsored the first Whistlepig House Concert in Pagosa Springs, Colorado in 2000; Buddy was our first performer.  Every year when he would make his road trip to the Lower 48, he’d book a concert at my home in Pagosa.  Fall wasn’t Fall without Buddy’s annual visit and music.  In exchange or us producing the house concert and housing him for a week to a month, because he was a house-painter (as his 2nd job; music was his 1st!), he would paint our house every other year.

Because of back problems, Buddy isn’t able to travel long distances anymore and I don’t have my home in Colorado anymore, so I’m not able to sponsor concerts in my home, BUT I have had good timing to attend a few of Buddy’s  local concerts at the Lutheran Church in Juneau.  It was a pleasant sight to see a packed house for Buddy…I know it made him and his fellow musicians feel downright good!

Buddy Tabor sings to a full house in Juneau's Lutheran Church on West 10th

Buddy Tabor was born March 12, 1948 in Roanoke, Virginia. He started playing guitar at age seventeen after he first heard Bob Dylan. His musical and poetical influences are Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, John Prine, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, Hazel Dickens, and Townes Van Zandt.

Buddy hitchhiked to Alaska in 1967. He worked in salmon canneries, on fishing boats, the Alaska Pipeline, and as a house-painting contractor. In 1976, he met his wife, Jeannette Chee, while working on the pipeline. Jeannette is a Navajo from White Water, New Mexico. Her Native and Western culture has greatly influenced his writing.

His song “Get Up Dogs” was used in several documentaries and by ABC’s Wide World of Sports. His work has also appeared on numerous NPR stations. The Undertakin’ Daddies, a Juno Award nominated Canadian roots band, recorded Buddy’s “New Fallen Snow” for their 2001 album, Post Atomic Hillbilly.

Buddy is a veteran of the Alaska Folk Festival, Dawson City Music Festival, and Yukon Frostbite Music Festival.

Vocalist Betsy Sims, bass player Albert McDonald and lead guitarist Jason Caputo accompany Buddy

Dobro player Paul Disdier joins Besty, Albert and Buddy

Back Row: Paul Disdier, Terry and Frederick Hoskinson, Greg McLaughlin, Betsey Sims, Albert McDonald, Lis Saya, John Ingalls, Jason Caputo Front Row: June Hall, Buddy, and Rainee Godwin

The above photo of Buddy Tabor with some of his musician friends and producers who have supported him in his career.  Terry and Frederick Hoskinson have produced many of his local concerts here in Juneau.  Local musicians Lis Saya, John Ingalls an Rainee Godwin have been Buddy’s sidekicks for almost 30 years.

We’re missing you, Buddy!

View Buddy’s “Black Crow Night” music video by Riley Woodford and Buddy at: