GREG KLYMA is a man of words. And the songwriter, poet, musician and sometimes goodwill ambassador of Buffalo isn't shy about passionately sharing them in casual conversation or song.
He can weave a talk on late concert starts ("It's important for me to start my show on time, regardless of the turnout," he says) into discussing his horror of hate crimes ("It's horrible that murder and ignorance are still prevalent in the U.S."). And you can be sure if Klyma's talking about it, he's writing about it, too.
"I write songs about the human condition," he says. "If you come to my show and allow yourself to be under the spell of the songs, to be affected by them, you will laugh, you will cry, and you will relate."
Klyma began playing guitar at 13, soon idolizing Steve Earle, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. He was still a teen when these men -- "musical outlaws," as he calls them -- inspired him to begin writing songs.
He began performing as a solo artist, and with the band Stone Church. Klyma also has made it a priority to share the music of songwriters everywhere, including those here in Buffalo. He's often heard performing works by Tom Stahl, Scott Carpenter and Jim Whitford, among other area talents.
"I don't think where you live is the qualifier as a songwriter," Klyma says. "I've been to Nashville and Boston, two cities touted for songwriting and guitar-playing talent, and seen some of the weakest talent around. Buffalo has no shortage of talent, but there's no buzz. Instead, Buffalo is promoted as a sports town."
So on his frequent road trips, Klyma finds himself boasting about a Buffalo that's more than sports, chicken wings and snow. And wherever he goes, it's enough to have his guitar and music as he lives the life of an "authentic acoustic performer."
"You won't hear a computer behind me playing what I can't do," he says. "I'm a very song-oriented person, and there's nothing as authentic as a song performed by the person who wrote it on the instrument it was written on. A really good song doesn't need more decoration than that."
Upcoming: 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Tralfamadore Cafe, 622 Main St.; 9 p.m. Wednesday and Sept. 22 at the Coffee Bean Cafe, 3268 Main St.
For information: Write P.O. Box 249, Buffalo, N.Y. 14225.
LOCAL RECORD PICK
Torch Song Avalon, "Torch Song Avalon." Vocalist Kim Russert and multi-instrumentalist Cage (of Kinsman-Cage) have created an interesting project with Torch Song Avalon. Fittingly, these are torch songs for a darker generation. Russert's high-pitched voice moves from a whisper to a wail, recalling Kate Bush and Siouxsie Sioux (not surprisingly, there's a cover of "Dear Prudence"). Cage keeps her vocals in the forefront while utilizing a myriad of styles, from the Middle Eastern bent on "Simple Pleasures" to the cool jazz of "Daisies Lie." A bluesy guitar break brightens the synthesizer-laced "Steal the Sun." Russert is soft, but a bit snarly on "Whip"; "The Mandate of Heaven" is appropriately ethereal and lovely.
-- Toni Ruberto