Doug Budzak: Organ and Accordion
Doug Budzak grew up in the decidedly blue-collar town of Iron River, Michigan. The area, located in the upper Michigan Peninsula region, is rich in history as the home of the Ojibwan Indians, and later, the European born iron miners that followed the hopes and dreams of a new world.
Inspired by his mother, Doug took up the piano at a young age. Before long, the sound of rock 'n' roll filled young Doug's life and he decided to take up drums and guitar which he found to be a whole lot cooler at the time. During his teenage years, Doug discarded the drumsticks and toured the Midwest, playing guitar in a variety of such rock bands such as: Watchers Convention, Free Flight, and Pyramid. Doug earned a well-deserved reputation as somewhat of a musical chameleon easing through a variety of diverse musical styles: blues, funk, jam, pop covers, jazz, rock, and reggae with exceptional abandon before finally deciding to concentrate as a full time keyboard player. Doug relocated to Milwaukee in 1977 before settling into Indianapolis in 1980. It was in Indy that Budzak delivered the word of Jah playing reggae music in such well respected bands as: Natty Dread, Reggaenomix, and Dem Boyz for much of the next two decades.
A fan of such jam bands as the Grateful Dead and Phish, Budzak followed his own path to the Bay Area in 1997 and it didn't take long for him to integrate himself deep into the local music scene. Performing as a member of such renowned local bands as: Gasoline Cowboys, The BluesCasters, and Buffalo Roam, Budzak cemented his reputation as a first call keyboardist.
I first encountered Doug at a show at The First Unitarian Church in Oakland, CA where he was playing with a combination of several bands called The Crow Canyon Band. Besides Budzak, the band included future J.C. Flyer members: Jody Salino, (guitar), Chuck Rosine (bass), and Mike Eaves (drums). The scene was fresh and exciting and I sat in with the band for the first of several shows that we did at the church and around the Bay Area billed as: J.C. Flyer and The Crow Canyon Band. The vibe of that version of the band was really cool because we used the historical landmark church as our rehearsal hall on many occasions. I was impressed by the ease that Doug was able to perform my original material even adding his own distinctive musical signature as well - as he more than ably displays on Movin' On. It is no coincidence that Doug's organ playing is extremely soulful, in a Stax/Volt way, and his playing sounds every bit as soulful on Movin' On as it did when we first played the songs from the First Unitarian Church pulpit.
Take it away Harry..