back porch buddha


booking and media guide

bryan

About Back Porch Buddha

Back Porch Buddha is the musical lovechild of Bryan Masters, songwriter and singer of songs about love gone wrong and hearts that won't quite break, and Dennis Hardin, six-string wizard and prophet of all the pain and glory that can be wrung out of his ancient National resonator guitar. Together, they summon a potent musical brew of bittersweet humor, dented hearts, contagious melody and razor-sharp fretwork.

Back Porch Buddha has been forming for more than two decades.

It was 1991 when Dennis Hardin and Bryan Masters met at their workplace, a mild-mannered Midwestern newspaper office. They quickly bonded over their shared adoration of Sunrise acoustic guitar pickups (Attention Sunrise execs: Endorsement deal right here. Seriously.) and started sharing tunes after work, back porch-style.

Dennis played a broad range of styles, from bluegrass to 80s rock to jazz standards. Bryan would mostly play songs he had written, and Dennis was quick to flesh out the tunes with wicked-but-copacetic guitar arrangements.

Along with musical cohorts Mark Horton and Barney Byard, they formed Stick Men, an alt-grass outfit that was officially about a decade early. When Stick Men flickered out in 1994, the pair went on to other musical pursuits. Bryan moved on as half of the late great Howdy, while Dennis played extensively with the swingin' Pragmatics. Both acts enjoyed considerable regional acclaim.

Meanwhile, Bryan and Dennis continued to play together, and built a solid reputation on the stage of Wichita's legendary Panama Red's. Soon enough they were opening for the likes of James McMurtry, Robert Earl Keen and Dwight Yoakam.

Over time, Bryan's songs have grown up, and he now garners notice as a unique voice that ranges from silly to sublime. Dennis' playing has simply grown sharper and wiser, and his guitar and mandolin parts ring with increasing emotional clarity.

Bryan Masters' crooked heart was educated along the two-lane blacktops and dirt roads of Kansas, and his music speaks of small towns, dreams lost and found, and the torments of real love and dented hearts. One reviewer described him as "a guy who'd like to see the world in romantic terms if there just wasn't so much evidence to the contrary."

A staple of the Kansas acoustic music scene, Bryan's evocative songwriting and emotive performances have gathered a devoted audience of listeners with a penchant for Sunday mornings, carnival rides, comfort and chaos.

Attentive Kansans will recognize Bryan's voice and songs maybe from his former bands Shoobachs, Howdy and Stick Men, where he first played with Dennis Hardin. Bryan has released two solo CDs, So Low and Thundar the Boy Giant. He has also seen lots of his songs make it into the winners' circle in the Walnut Valley Festival's New Songs Showcase.

These days, Bryan performs as half of Back Porch Buddha with co-conspirator and six-string franchise Dennis Hardin.

» Visit Bryan's website

Dennis Hardin grew up in the near shadows of St. Louis. Already a garage-band kid at 13, he and his brothers first learned a repertoire of songs by The Doors. He followed his musical muse through prog-rock, bluegrass, southern boogie and more by the time he arrived in Wichita in the 80s.

His Wichita resume is impressive -- first as guitarist for area bluegrass favorites Cause for Concern, then as sideman to evil genius Paul Elwood in Zillion Simoleans. He dug his cleats into the folk turf with regionally-acclaimed Matfield Cafe and, years later, with the swingin' Pragmatics.

Notable was the altgrass combo Stick Men, which fostered Dennis' courtship with the mandolin. Along with Barney Byard and Bryan Masters, Dennis and guitarist Mark Horton stitched an airtight guitar/mandolin tapestry that was a full decade ahead of its time. After Stick Men disbanded, Dennis and Bryan continued to play together until ... well, now. Dennis also keeps company with his other musical projects, Pop and the Boys and The Mischief Makers.

Dennis is also a seriously great cook. If Dennis offers to feed you, accept the offer. He is also a devoted bicyclist, participating in those insane bike rides wherein otherwise rational people will ride upwards of 150 miles per day. For fun. And Dennis will extol from the mountaintop the virtues of fixed-gear bikes. Seriously.

He is also an all-around nice guy, and he is threatening to exhume his dusty, rusty fiddle from its 20-year exile. Eager ears await.

» Visit Dennis' website

“We hit the jackpot with Back Porch Buddha. They were extremely well received by the audience when we had them, and we’d have them back any time.”
John Holecek, McPherson Opera House

“Back Porch Buddha had the audience fired up from the first chord stroke of the guitar. Every song was memorable and fun.”
Hutchinson News

"Bryan Masters and Dennis Hardin channel music with uncommon accuracy, clarity and an elegant simplicity … They take the listener on a journey through the peaks and valleys of the human experience … In Masters' world, we are one, joined by both our shared and singular experiences ... Hardin's flavorful guitar licks lend a sense of lyricism and soul akin to David Lindley's work with Jackson Browne."
Jedd Beaudoin, Strange Currency, KMUW

"Back Porch Buddha continues to consistently thrill their audiences with their energetic acoustic style. Bryan and Dennis have spent years honing their musical repertoire into a compelling musical experience ... always interesting, always improving, always entertaining. Bryan Masters' thoughtful and inspiring song craftsmanship is evident in all of his original melodies, lyrics and songs. No matter if it is a solid backing ballad fill, a soaring rock lead or a growling blues fretboard crawl, Dennis Hardin's soulful handiwork on acoustic and resophonic guitar is sweetness to any musical palate. Back Porch Buddha is at home on any stage or setting and will quickly bring their audience into their world and leave them standing, wanting more."
Russell Brace, proprietor, Stage 5

"Back Porch Buddha has the classic pairing of a gifted singer/songwriter with an equally gifted guitarist/multi-instrumentalist. BPB is consistently professional, engaging and entertaining."
Mark Scheltgen, Digital Boy Studios

"Bryan Masters sings like the illegitimate love child of John Prine and Elvis Costello. He's a guy who'd like to see the world in romantic terms if there just wasn't so much evidence to the contrary."
Joe Stumpe, musician

Photos

Music

Listen to some of Back Porch Buddha's music here in this 6-song SoundCloud player.


Video


September 14th, 1966

This is a storyteller's song, full of long-ago sensations and very real, sweet childhood memories. It's a favorite, and it is probably one of Bryan's most-requested songs. "The first time we played it," he said, "I heard my sister sobbing in the audience and knew that I'd pretty much nailed it."

Recorded live for Currency Exchange on KMUW's Strange Currency with host Jedd Beaudoin.


Close Enough

This song pretty much wrote itself — it just landed on Bryan's head one night while he was in the front row of a Peter Case concert. Which was cool, but incredibly inconvenient. Bryan says: "If I had a time machine, I would take this song directly to The Blasters in 1984. They would know exactly what to do with it."

Recorded live at The Brickyard in Old Town in Wichita, Kansas. May 8, 2015


Two Flattop Guitars

In this ancient video, Back Porch Buddha performs "Two Flattop Guitars" in a campsite road jam and on Stage 5, the Plains' mecca of acoustic musicians. In this edition of Back Porch Buddha, we are joined by our sometimes-Buddhist buddy from St. Louis, Tom Wolf on bass.

Recorded in a roadside jam and onstage on Stage 5 at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield KS, September 2009. Back then, Tom had all the gray hair.


Mona Rigby's Houseboat

This is a song about drinking too much, and it is very popular among people who drink too much. It is even more popular among recovering alcoholics. Intended as a tongue-in-cheek observation of substance abuse, this song has become a sort of a weird singalong alcoholic inkblot test.

Recorded live for Currency Exchange on KMUW's Strange Currency with host Jedd Beaudoin.

Booking & Media

Back Porch Buddha plays theaters, concert halls and listening rooms across the midwest. They are especially fond of festival stages and any place where the audience is listening, facing the stage and excited about hearing great original music.

For booking inquiries and media inquiries, please contact Back Porch Buddha directly.

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