Joe Buck Re-Emerges After Extended Period Out of the Public Eye

photo: Bruce W. Siart

Believe it or not, but this crazy-eyed and mowhawked wild man you see above known by many as Joe Buck, or Joe Buck Yourself, was a very big part of revitalizing country and roots music in the 90’s and beyond. One of the originals who set up shop on Lower Broadway in Nashville when the Ryman Auditorium was still shuttered and the neighborhood was full of pawn shops and dirty bookstores, it was post punk roots performers like Joe Buck who gave a shot of life to the historic holy land of country music.

Joe Buck started as a street performer on Lower Broadway, then started playing Robert’s Western World, which bills on its sign “Home of BR549.” Then Robert opened The Bluegrass Inn next door, later giving it to Joe and his then partner Layla, and Joe Buck was billed the “BR549 of the Bluegrass Inn” (The club is now simply known as “Layla’s”). Those two venues and the throwback country players that performed in them shot renewed life into lower Broadway, and soon other venues would being to open in the area.

Later Joe Buck went on the road as the bass player for Hank Williams III, becoming a fan favorite, and began touring worldwide as a one-man band behind a bass drum, screaming wild punk songs, and playing a country tune upon occasion. Hank3’s magum opus Straight To Hell was recorded in Joe Buck’s house. For many years he was one of the hardest-touring performers in the business, living out of a motorhome, and playing most nights of the week.

But for the last few years Joe Buck has been completely missing in action, and without any social media presence whatsoever, many were worried about his health and whereabouts. Well luckily he emerged on Tuesday, May 19th in his first ever social media post on a Facebook page set up for him.

“Hi everybody, it’s Joe Buck. This is the first post I’ve ever made. I just wanted to thank all of you for your continued support over the last thirty years. You’ve allowed me to live out any and all my dreams and the confidence to continue at the age of 57. It’s all I ever wanted to do in life. Without you I would still be a drunk junkie. The 50 records the 4000 live shows all gave me purpose and the drive to stay clean. None of this would have happened without you. I’ve been terrified of social media so I stayed off of it. My friend Bobby Gunstrum set this page up for me and I’m finally stepping in to the 21st century 20 years late.”

Along with touring as a one-man band, Joe Buck has also released numerous records—some rag tag self-burned trunk CD’s, while others are more well-produced studio projects like his latest Who Dat? from 2012. Joe went on to explain why he’s been out of the public eye.

“I’ve been caring for my 95 year old mother. She’s had hip surgery that took forever to schedule because no doctor wanted to do surgery on a person that old, finally found some young doctors at Vanderbilt to do it. She recovered fast. I thought I could go back to work, but she had a fall and broke three vertebra. This has occupied our life for the last year. She is finally getting strong. Stronger every day so I can finally go back to work. I can’t wait to see ya’ll again.”

Joe Buck also says he will begin touring soon and has a new release on the way, along with a new addition to his family.

“I will have a new record and I’ve written a book about my time in Nashville, also a book of my lyrics that will be available in the fall. I’ll be touring in August, September, and the beginning of October. My son will be with me a lot of these dates, I can’t wait for you to meet him. He’s an amazing kid. I’m so proud. I am so humbled to have had the opportunity to play in so many cities and towns and to meet you and so happy that my son is able to experience this life. I owe it all to you.”

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