"There's nobody on the local scene quite like yellow jack"
- Bob McLennan, President, Sportsmen's Americana Music Foundation

L to R at the Lockport Locks: Warren Namingha, Keith Glass, Dennis Reed Jr, LaiNIE REID, Andrew Gianni

Buffalo-niagara history in song
We love sharing our appreciation for local history through music. We also write our own songs about historical events and colorful characters, performed in a traditional style. A sampling of our history-related repertoire:
Erie Canal Songs
Low Bridge! Everybody Down! - No Erie Canal repertoire would be complete without this Thomas S. Allen classic. We give it a bit of an update, and include all the additional verses as they appeared in the first-known sheet music.
From Buffalo to Troy - "Johnny Bartley used to sing [it] at the 'Alhambra Varieties' on Commercial Street, in Buffalo, in the eighteen-eighties." Harold W. Thompson's "Body, Boots & Britches" (1939).

E-ri-e Canal (The E-ri-e Was Risin') - This rousing number laments an oncoming tragedy to the drink-minded men in its singalong chorus: "The E-ri-e was a-rising, and the gin was a-getting low!" 

Murder at the Docks  (Yellow Jack original) -  The Erie Canal was big business with big money at stake, and tensions could run high. On the P. W. Scribner docks in Tonawanda in 1895, they exploded into the grisly double murder of canal boat captain Lorenzo Phillips and his son Charles, as surviving daughter Flora hiding in the cabin below is left to drift towards the falls with her dead family. Learn more at Dennis's local history website >

The Lumbershovers' Song (Yellow Jack original) -  "Lumbershovers" load and unload the great quantities of lumber that arrived in the Tonawandas from the Great Lakes and was sent to the east along the Erie Canal. This song celebrates the harmony and honesty of work life on the Erie Canal. Some of its depictions were inspired by Richard Garrity's book, "Canal Boatman: My Life on Upstate Waterways" (New York State Series) .
The Automatic Man (Yellow Jack original) - Local inventor Philip Perew built the so-called "Frankenstein of Tonawanda" in the mid-1890s. He claimed it could be a super soldier, an advertising device, or (when equipped with a hidden phonograph) a persuasive political orator. In the end, it became a brand likeness for a hooey foot corn cure. Learn more at Dennis's local history website >
Buffalo Gals
The Burning of Buffalo (Yellow Jack original) - A sweeping and sometimes darkly funny account of the horrifying events of December 1813 on the Niagara Frontier, performed in the style of an Irish jig.
Highway 62 (Yellow Jack original) - A fever dream history of Niagara Falls Boulevard and beyond.
The Legend of Hannah Johnson (Yellow Jack original) - A new song about an old fortuneteller Learn more at Dennis's local history website >
O Mighty Niagara (Yellow Jack original) - Many have succumbed to the deadly allure of the Niagara Falls, and its promises of fame and immortality.
White House Blues - Traditional song about the 1901 assassination of President William McKinley at the Pan Am Exposition in Buffalo, NY.
Where Is Love? (Yellow Jack original) The notorious Thayer brothers were the unfortunate subjects of the only public hanging in Buffalo, attracting virtually the entire regional population.
Zolgotz - Another song about the McKinley assassination.
We also curate the best of the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show, Woody Guthrie, the Carter Family, Pete Seeger and others for inclusion in our eclectic live sets. ​​​​​​​
We've recorded two full-length studio albums: "A Horse Apiece" (2020), and "Highway 62" (2022). Traditional songs appear alongside their original material on the albums (which is the case in our live shows as well). You can find them on all major music services, and purchase items from our Bandcamp page.

Dennis Reed Jr - Guitar, banjolele, harmonica, vocals
Andrew Gianni - Mandolin, tenor banjo, vocals
Keith Glass - Bass, vocals
Lainie Reid - Fiddle, tenor banjo, vocals
Warren Namingha - Percussion

SOME places we have performed
Buffalo Wings and Brewhouse (North Tonawanda)
Canalfest of the Tonawandas
The Cave (Buffalo, NY)

Community Beer Works
DHU Strand Theater (North Tonawanda)
Duende at Silo City
Hilltop Inn and Grove (Lancaster)
Hot Mama’s Canteen
Music is Art (Terrapin Station Stage)
Mohawk Place

North Tonawanda History Museum
Penny Lane (Clarence)
Sportsmen’s Tavern
Sweetness 7 Cafe
Witter’s (North Tonawanda)
Woodcock Brothers (Newfane)

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