SDPB’s Favorite Local Tiny Desk Concerts
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Buffalo Grass perform multiple genres on bluegrass instruments.

Buffalo Grass

Rapid City, SD

Song: “I’ll Be Your Sugar”

Buffalo Grass are:

Kim Plender: Band leader, team mom, head nurse, lead & harmony vocals, rhythm guitar (on stage). Homemaker, wife, grandmother & chicken wrangler (off stage).

Pieter Wouden: Banjo, lead & harmony vocals. Retired Air Force.

Greg Johnson: Mandolin, lead & harmony vocals. Chief of Environmental Compliance at Ellsworth AFB. 

Mark Pecora: Bass. Retired FBI. Part-time private investigator/security consultant.

Katie Lautenschlage: Violin & harmony. Member of Black Hills Symphony and teacher of violin, viola, guitar & mandolin. 

Lead vocalist and “team mom” Kim Plender spoke with SDPB about their group and music.

How long have you been performing together as Buffalo Grass?

Kim Plender: “Since October 2016 and with our current configuration since August 2017. People can’t believe we’ve been together for such a short time. We sound like we’ve been performing together for many years. But that’s what happens when you get five talented people together who love what they’re doing. It’s been said of us that we look like five people who’ve found a home. We sure do enjoy our time together! And it shows!”

Why did you choose “I’ll be Your Sugar” for the Tiny Desk Contest?

“It’s the latest, most fun song I’ve written, and the band loves it and chose it as the one to do! Lucky me! We hoped to bring a smile to peoples’ faces and maybe make them feel a little like boogieing! We wanted people to see our fun side. Look how cute all the guys look in their aprons!”

Describe your sound and musical influences.

“We have a unique sound, in that we use bluegrass instruments to play many different genres of music – from old time rock & roll to classic country, doowop to bluegrass, standards to gospel to originals. Whether you’re looking for beautiful harmonies and instrumentals or crazy parodies, we’re sure to please. Americana or eclectic would describe our music style the best.”

What can the audience listen for to hear the influence of South Dakota in “I’ll Be Your Sugar”?

“Wow, great question. It’s been said that I am the voice of the prairie wind. It’s a fact that we’ve got a lot of that in SD! I’ve written two other songs that we perform that are specifically about western SD: “Home” and “Dark Green Pine Trees” from my CD These Are a Few of My Favorite Things, which was awarded “2018 CD of the Year” by the South Dakota Country Music Hall of Fame and “2017 Classic Country Female CD of the Year” by the Rural Roots Music Commission.”

Where do you most like to perform in SD and why?

“We’re from the Rapid City area. We’ve performed at the Buffalo Round Up, High Country Guest Ranch, Fort Meade Veteran’s Home, Rapid City Public Library, Gaslight Restaurant, and Dahl Arts Center. We’re booked at Hart Ranch several times this summer and at The High Plains Heritage Center on October 21.”

What more do you want South Dakotans to know about Buffalo Grass?

“We’re an amusing, engaging, convivial bunch! We perform beautiful and fun music, as well as tell stories and ask great questions! Our main goal is to provide the listeners with an enjoyable, hey-we-want-to-see-them-again experience.”

See the Buffalo Grass Tiny Desk Concert video at SDPB.org/Living.