The Buffalo Club

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The Buffalo Club
The Buffalo Club promotional picture. Left to right: Ron Hemby, John Dittrich, Charlie Kelley
The Buffalo Club promotional picture. Left to right: Ron Hemby, John Dittrich, Charlie Kelley
Background information
OriginNashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Years active1997
LabelsRising Tide
Spinoff of
Past members
  • Ron Hemby
  • John Dittrich
  • Charlie Kelley

The Buffalo Club was an American country music group composed of Ron Hemby (lead vocals, guitar), John Dittrich (vocals, drums), and Charlie Kelley (vocals, guitar). Before the group's foundation, Hemby was a vocalist in the Christian group The Imperials, Kelley played guitar for Doug Stone, and Dittrich was the drummer in the country pop band Restless Heart. The Buffalo Club released a self-titled album on the Rising Tide Records label in 1997 and charted three singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts that year, including "If She Don't Love You" at number nine. By the end of the year, the band broke up, and Dittrich rejoined Restless Heart.


The Buffalo Club was founded in 1997 by John Dittrich, who had left his role as drummer in the band Restless Heart a few years earlier.[1] Dittrich met vocalist Ron Hemby, a touring vocalist for the contemporary Christian music group The Imperials, in the mid-1990s after suggesting that he write songs for Restless Heart. After Restless Heart disbanded in 1994,[2] Dittrich began writing songs with Hemby in 1995.[3] With Restless Heart disbanded at the time, Dittrich expressed interest in forming a musical act where he could express more creative control than he got to in his former band. As he thought that he was not suitable to work as a solo artist, Dittrich thus decided to form a new band with Hemby.[3] The two then recruited guitarist Charlie Kelley, who had previously been a backing musician for Doug Stone, and assigned Kelly as the band's lead vocalist.[1] Working with Dan Goodman as their manager, the three musicians recorded a demo which was sent to Ken Levitan, the president of Rising Tide Records.[4]

Initially, the group was to be called Johnny Ringo, but was renamed The Buffalo Club as representatives of Rising Tide disliked the original name.[1][4] The name came from a pub the band had visited in Buffalo, Wyoming.[5] The Buffalo Club's debut single, "If She Don't Love You", reached number nine on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart upon its early-1997 release.[6] This song had been previously offered to Restless Heart, who declined it.[7]

The Buffalo Club's self-titled debut album was released through Rising Tide Records on March 25, 1997.[8] Barry Beckett produced the album and played keyboards on it. Dittrich co-wrote the track "The Funny Thing Is", and Hemby co-wrote "Wish for You".[9] Robert Loy of Country Standard Time wrote of the album that "the harmonies are above average, and Ron Hemby's vocals deserve better material than anything here".[7] A more favorable review was published in Billboard, which compared the band's sound favorably to that of the Eagles.[10] One of the co-writers of the song was Marc Beeson, then recording on Curb Records as a member of Burnin' Daylight.[3]

Following "If She Don't Love You" was "Nothin' Less Than Love", which was co-written by Rusty Young of Poco and originally recorded by Bryan White on his 1994 self-titled debut album.[11] The Buffalo Club's rendition peaked at number 26 on Hot Country Songs.[6] Dittrich left the band in August 1997, stating in a letter of resignation, "I am no longer able to continue to do the things deemed necessary to break a new artist in this format".[12] At the time of his resignation, Hemby and Kelley announcing their intent to continue as a duo.[13] The group then released their third and final single "Heart Hold On". Co-written by Blackhawk lead singer Henry Paul, this song peaked at number 53 on the country music charts.[6]

By year's end, Hemby and Kelley disbanded.[14] In addition, Rising Tide Records closed in March 1998.[15] Dittritch rejoined Restless Heart the same year when the band reunited.[2] Kelley founded the polka duo The Boxhounds with Lynn Marie.[16] Hemby is a worship leader at River of Life in Smyrna, Tennessee.[17]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart
US Country
The Buffalo Club 69


Year Single Peak chart
US Country CAN Country
1997 "If She Don't Love You" 9 12 The Buffalo Club
"Nothin' Less Than Love" 26 42
"Heart Hold On" 53 77

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
1997 "Nothin' Less Than Love"[18] Martin Kahan
"Heart Hold On"[19] Trey Fanjoy


  1. ^ a b c "The Buffalo Club biography". Retrieved 2008-11-08.
  2. ^ a b "Restless Heart biography". AllMusic. Retrieved April 30, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c "New artist fact file" (PDF). Radio & Records: 55. January 24, 1997.
  4. ^ a b "The Buffalo Club biography". AllMusic. Retrieved May 25, 2022.
  5. ^ "Country music memo". The Index Journal. May 11, 1997. pp. 3C. Retrieved April 30, 2022.
  6. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (2017). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2017. Record Research, Inc. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-89820-229-8.
  7. ^ a b Loy, Robert. "The Buffalo Club - The Buffalo Club". Country Standard Time. Retrieved 2008-11-08.
  8. ^ "The Buffalo Club". AllMusic. Retrieved May 25, 2022.
  9. ^ The Buffalo Club (Media notes). The Buffalo Club. Rising Tide Records. 1997. 53044.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  10. ^ "Reviews". Billboard. 12 April 1997. p. 65.
  11. ^ Peacock, Bobby (13 April 2013). "Bobby's One Hit Wonders: Volume 16: The Buffalo Club - If She Don't Love You". Roughstock. Archived from the original on 16 April 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  12. ^ "Dittrich leaves Club" (PDF). Radio & Records: 68. September 12, 1997.
  13. ^ "Nashville Scene". Billboard. 1997-09-20. Retrieved 2008-11-08.
  14. ^ Wix, Kimmy (1997-12-29). "1997 at a country glance". CMT. Retrieved 2008-11-08.
  15. ^ Flippo, Chet (21 March 1998). Universal Closes Rising Tide. Retrieved 21 September 2010.
  16. ^ Petruziello, Francis (19 December 2008). "Nan and Charlie Kelly fight cancer hard as The Boxhounds get Grammy". The Cleveland Leader. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  17. ^ "Smyrna River of Life". Facebook. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  18. ^ "CMT : Videos : The Buffalo Club : Nothin' Less Than Love". Country Music Television. Retrieved August 5, 2011.
  19. ^ "CMT : Videos : The Buffalo Club : Heart Hold On". Country Music Television. Retrieved August 5, 2011.