“The new band name on this record is Shawn Rohlf and the Buskers,” says the now-titular leader of the group formerly known as the 7th Day Buskers. Rohlf founded the band in 1997, playing guitar, banjo, and harmonica with a rotating roster of players on Sundays at the Hillcrest Farmers’ Market.
“When the original Buskers scattered all over the country, we formed this version and tried calling it Gunplay Maxwell. Well, it didn’t seem to matter because everyone still just called it the Buskers. Plus, we’re still busking at the Market every Sunday morning, like I’ve been doing for the past 13 years. So, we just decided to go with what people were calling us anyway.” Among the new backup Buskers are Alex Watts (Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash), Jef Kmak (Joey Harris and the Mentals), Dave Berzansky (Hacienda Brothers), and Richard “T-Bone” Larson (Bartenders Bible).
The Buskers album Tiny Xs will be released this month on Rohlf’s own label, Shubzu. “I recorded and mixed the thing at my studio, House of Burlap, with some engineering help on the bed tracks from Alan Sanderson [Rolling Stones, Weezer, Elvis Costello]. Paul Abbot of ZenMastering did the mastering, and photos were taken by Dennis Andersen, who shot everything from National Geographic to the Olympics.
“We made two attempts to record at other studios, and it just wasn’t working. The final straw was when the two-inch tape machine we were recording on actually caught fire and almost burned down the entire studio. At this point, we felt like the project was cursed, so we set up in my studio and cranked out 20 songs in two days. We narrowed it down to 11 songs and had to leave some great tracks on the cutting-room floor.”
A record-release party happens Friday, September 3, at the Whistle Stop. “We’ll play two sets,” says Rohlf. “The first one is our four-piece acoustic busking setup that we do every Sunday morning. The second will be the full five-piece electric-acoustic setup we do in the bars and clubs.
“There may be some surprises.... We might whip out a Prince tune. Or something by the Dead Milkmen. Busking should never be boring.”