Buddy Tabor (1948–2012) was born in Roanoke, Virginia. He started playing guitar at age seventeen after he first heard Bob Dylan. His musical and poetical influences were Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, John Prine, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, Hazel Dickens, and Townes Van Zandt. Buddy hitchhiked to Alaska in 1967. He worked in salmon canneries, on fishing boats, the Alaska Pipeline, and as a house-painting contractor. In 1976, he met his wife, Jeannette Chee, while working on the pipeline. Jeannette is a Navajo from White Water, New Mexico.