The name alone, Cryin’ D.T. Buffkin & the Bad Breath, is distinctive. However, it is their authentic swing/ol’ timey sound that you will remember them by. The local band delivers jazzy beats, excellent piano tones, along with rustic vocals.

The lead singer is reminiscent of Tom Waits in his vocal approach, while the rest of the sound is similar to Squirrel Nut Zippers. Made up of two guitar players, a bassist and a clarinet, the sound of this rag time sextet will transport its back in time, while the audience hangs back, or maybe even dances along.

Influenced by such artists as Nat King Cole and Benny Goodman, this band serves as a tribute to big bands of that era. They do a few cover songs from that time, but a lot of their songs are originally written by the lead singer and current UTSA student, Daniel Travis Buffkin.

Not only does the band offer an authentic sound that speaks of the times where Jazz and Swing rocked the nation, but they put a lot of soul into their music. There is a refreshing sincerity to their work that you just don’t find often amongst the local bands in this town and for that. Recently the Paisano had an opportunity to interview the lead singer/pianist Daniel Travis Buffkin (DTB) and bassist, Andrew Maley (AM).

PAISANO: Your band has a really interesting name. Part of it is from your own name, but where did you guys come up with “The Bad Breath” part?

DTB: My friend, Duff and I used to play together in a band. We were just kind of doing this jam session, talking, throwing out names and we thought of “the dead family.” I just thought that was pretty cool and hippie like, you know. It was Grateful Dead-ish though, so we decided that was pretty lame … so … I don’t know how it happened, really. I think Duff was probably just talking and so I could just smell his breath or something. [laughs] And so, I was just like, ‘Oh, that’s perfect!’

PAISANO: How did the band come to be?

DTB: Well, I grew up here, but I moved to Austin for a little while. I wanted to move back to San Antonio. I was in a band in Austin and it’s like, everyone is in a band there. It’s a bummer, you know? It’s like, an L.A. sort of thing, where everyone moves there to do music and you’re surrounded by assholes who think their shit is going to make it just because they moved to Austin, as if that means they have more invested in their dream. So, I was just getting really sick of it and San Antonio has more genuine people.

PAISANO: How would you categorize your band?

DTB: Yeah, I just say Ol’ Timey.

AM: Or Classical American.

AM: We pretty much have roots from all of that. We like to bring a lot of different things to the table. It kind of just makes it what it is.

DTB: We’ve even played some Honky-Tonk. It depends where we play sometimes, too. If we play somewhere with more of a jazz vibe, we’ll emphasize more of our jazzier stuff. Not everyone, believe it or not, likes Hank Williams.

PAISANO: I heard you guys are going to be coming out with an LP soon.

DTB: Yeah, we haven’t ever recorded anything officially. We’re gonna do a single with this tune we have called “Ain’t it the Truth.”

PAISANO: Do you have any other plans for the future?

AM: Gigs.

DTB: We’d like to throw more beats into our sets, just get a beat machine. How many rag time bands have beat machines? We like the idea of getting a steady gig at one place. That’s our goal. It can be tough doing these random gigs in different bars all time because we have to fit to the standard of the bar sometimes, like their typical business model, and we really want to stray away from that. We want to play the strip clubs, actually. That’d be so great. Stripping to Chamillionare isn’t as classy as stripping to Bad Breath.

There was a lot of laughter and smiles, while girls shout “Play it again!” right after their second song. This band invokes a feeling of comfort, good times, and everything you’d ask for of old Southern style.

Crying DT Buffkin and the Bad Breath have a Sound Cloud, on SoundCloud.com where you can listen to their music for free. The band plays at The Mix every Tuesday night and every other Friday night.

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