Buie was born in the small town of Dothan, Alabama and moved on to New York City. Eventually he moved to Atlanta, Georgia where he spent most of his career. However, nearly all the songs written by Buie and his co-writers were conceived in Eufaula, Alabama on Thomas Mill Creek where Buie had a small fishing trailer (Eufaula is only a 3-hour drive from Atlanta and a 1-hour drive from Dothan, making it a convenient location).
He is most well known as a prolific song-writer, with 340 songs registered in the Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) catalog. In fact, Buie's "Traces" (performed by The Classics IV) was at one point the 34th Most Performed Song in BMI History. Buie's truly literary lyrics blend seamlessly with the music, with clear, sustained imagery, classic themes, poetic motifs, and a pithy, concise wit that is often lacking in the work of peers.
While his initial success with the Classics IV established his career, the immensely popular (original) Atlanta Rhythm Section in the 1970s perhaps best defines his success and artistry as a songwriter and producer. Buie helped gather one of the most talented ensembles of musicians in rock music and they helped define the Southern Rock genre with other bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd. The Atlanta Rhythm Section assumed the mantle of their fellow Georgians, the Allman Brothers Band, as one of the best live acts in the genre, with intense and lengthy solos and artistry that transformed their concerts into stellar jam sessions. They played a command performance at the White House for Pres. Jimmy Carter on his son's birthday. Under Buie's leadership, the Rhythm Section had unsurpassed regional appeal in the late '70s and made regular appearances in the Nation-wide Top 40. Some of the key elements that distinguished ARS from their counterparts include Buie's production, influence, and songwriting: a rare instance where the lyrics and production matched the talents of accomplished, talented musicians in their prime.
Buie's contemporary work includes Rock Bottom for Wynonna Judd and Mr. Midnight for Garth Brooks. Notable artists that have covered his songs include Gloria Estefan ("Traces"), Travis Tritt ("Back Up Against the Wall" and "Homesick"), David Sanborn ("Spooky"), and Carlos Santana ("Stormy"). Most recently John Legend used "Stormy" as the backing track on the single "Save Room", earning Buie a writer's credit.
Buie's music has also been used in films, most notably Lost in Translation ("So into You") and Just like Heaven ("Spooky"). "So Into You" was also featured in a commercial for Texas Pete hot sauce.