A few months ago, a PR woman named Kitty called me, pretty much out of the blue, and talked my ear clean off about a band she was representing, The Kind Buds . If you’re a regular reader, you have probably seen the Massachusetts-based duo listed at various smaller venues around the state. They’re here fairly regularly. You may also have snickered at the impossibly hippie-dippy pun that is their band name — the duo comprises two guys named Bud and, ahem, Budd. Get it?
Anyway, back to Kitty.
Kitty really loves “the Buds.” Like, a lot. And she really wanted me to love them, too. Over the course of our 30-plus-minute, largely one-sided conversation, she regaled me with tales of the dynamic duo’s adventures at fests and clubs around the region and the warm reception they have received from crowds and famous people alike. I believe Phil Lesh was referenced on a few occasions. Kitty is not afraid of name-dropping.
Now, if you’ve read me often enough, you’d know invoking the Dead ain’t exactly the fastest way to my critical heart. It’s not that I can’t appreciate them, because I can and do. I’m just a skeptic. Plus, Deadheads are crazy easy to make fun of and, yeah, sometimes I’m a bully like that.
Anyway, back to the Buds.
So it was with no small degree of trepidation that I popped their latest live effort, All in Your Mind, into my trusty CD player and began formulating just how I would tear this sucker apart. But then a funny thing happened. As it turns out, the Buds aren’t half bad.
Let’s be clear: “Not half bad” really only means that they’re a shade over “half good.” But that percentage should be more than enough to sate your average acoustic-jam-lovin’ barfly.
The mix of Dead-inspired originals, Dead covers and rearranged traditionals found here — including (especially?) one track that serves as a medley of all three — boasts a breezy, happy-hour vibe that only the snarkiest of the snarky could really take exception to. While they won’t blow you away with virtuosic chops, the Buds are capable enough with their matching Taylor acoustics. And they sing with infectious enthusiasm — and a modicum of ability, to boot.
Yeah, their lyrics are featherweight at best — one word: unicorns. But when you’re sitting on the deck at Breakwater sipping a daiquiri, are you looking for Nick freakin’ Drake? Nope. You want carefree vibes, man. And that’s exactly what the Buds so kindly deliver.
The Kind Buds play Nectar’s this Thursday, November 12, as part of the birthday bash for online radio station WBKM — “Burlington’s Kinda Music.” If you go, tell Kitty I said hello.