Have you Herd? Donna the Buffalo
Donna the Buffalo’s feel-good, groove-oriented, danceable and often socially conscious music all began over twenty years ago with roots in old time fiddle music that evolved into a soulful electric Americana mix infused with elements of cajun/ zydeco, rock, folk, reggae, and country. Donna the Buffalo is known for touring the country remaining fiercely independent as one of the industry’s most diverse roots-music bands and has “earned a reputation as one of the most respected, eclectic and hardest-working acts today,” praises Encore.
“Donna the Buffalo is in the enviable position of being a homegrown entity, a group that finds itself outside the coloring lines of the accepted formula, a formula that is now in the past tense…People doing what they love, and better, sharing that passion to the benefit of the public, is the strongest business formula ever written. Donna the Buffalo is living proof of that. Lucky for them. Lucky for us. Everybody wins!,” states Beat Magazine. Edd Hurt with the Nashville Scene writes, “Folkies with a superior sense of rhythm are rare enough, but folkies with a good beat and a healthy disrespect for eclectic clichés are a national treasure….they’ve never sounded better…they make music that’s beautiful but never prettified.”
The dynamic songwriting tandem of vocalists Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins have penned over 180 songs in their collaboration with DTB and have many more in the making. Although never writing a set list for live show, the Erie Times notes, “they stick to a pattern…usually alternating between Puryear’s rhythmic, Dylan-influenced, guitar-centered songs and Nevins’ breezy, melodic, accordion-driven gems like the folksy Tides of Time and infectious Locket and Key.” As of late, Nevins and Puryear have also been known to perform as a duo on air and at live shows, which is always enjoyable to the fans to hear their favorite DtB songs in stripped down arrangements.
Donna the Buffalo has been working on a 10th album with Puryear on guitar, Nevins on fiddle, guitar, accordion, and scrubboard, keyboardist Dave McCracken, bassist Kyle Spark, and new Atlanta-based drummer Mark Raudabaugh. Donna the Buffalo has released nine albums and are affiliated with several others, including a Puryear’s 2007 solo album Hopes and Dreams and a 2003 release, Wait Til Spring, with Jim Lauderdale. The band’s 2008 release Silverlined, on Sugar Hill, rose to #8 on the Americana Music Chart.
Co-DtB bandleader and American roots traditionalist, Tara Nevins, released Wood and Stone, her first solo album since Mule to Ride in 1999 on Sugar Hill Records on May 3rd, 2011. Wood and Stone showcases her ever-evolving repertoire as she journeys both back to her own “roots” and head-long into new territory. The album was produced by Larry Campbell with guests including Levon Helm, Jim Lauderdale, Allison Moorer, Teresa Williams and more.
“… her music takes on the spirit of the [Levon Helm] Barn like a well-worn and cozy Gypsy jacket that was tailored to her shoulders,” says Brian Robbins with Jambands.com. In a another recent review of the album, Wildman Steve wrote, “If heroes and heroines of rock ‘n’ roll are defined by their uniqueness, they definitely broke the mold when they made Tara Nevins.” You can find out more at www.TaraNevins.com.
Donna the Buffalo’s fervent fan base, self-named The Herd, follows the band with zeal and has created a unique and supportive community online and at DTB shows across the nation. Puryear declares, “The main thing I like to say about The Herd is that you don’t have to do anything to be a member. You just have to like a song.” In an interview with The Roanoke Times, Nevins conveys, “It’s a great feeling to promote such a feeling of community, like you’re really part of something that’s happening, like a movement or a positive force…All those people that come and follow you and you recognize them and you become friends with them — you’re all moving along for the same purpose. It is powerful. It’s very powerful, actually.” When asked in an interview with the Weekender in PA what new people should look forward to experiencing at a show, Nevins replied “a really friendly, comfortable crowd, and a real community-oriented, positive experience.”
As an extension of this community and the band’s own dedication to live roots music, Donna started, and are still the driving force behind, the 20+ year old Finger Lakes Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance in Trumansburg, NY, the bi-annual Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival in Silk Hope, NC and February 2012 marks the first year for the Virginia Key Grassroots Festival in Florida. DtB are regulars at MerleFest (NC), Suwanee Springfest & Magnolia Fest (FL), All Good (WV), Floyd Fest (VA), and The Great Blue Heron Festival (PA) amongst others. You can also see them in 2011 at Nateva (ME), Del Fest (MD), DuneGrass (MI), Head Jamz (TN), Targhee Bluegrass Fest (WV), Smilefest (NC) and a variety of other venues across the nation.
Over the years and through their travels, Donna the Buffalo as a band and its individual members have had the opportunity to play music with and/or record with musicians such as Jim Lauderdale, Preston and Keith Frank, Railroad Earth, Bela Fleck, John Paul Jones, Bill Kreutzmann, The Avett Bothers, Del McCoury, Tim O’Brien, Pete Wernick, Abigail Washburn, Mamadou Diabate, Los Lobo, Rusted Root, Claire Lynch, David Hidalgo, The Duhks and Amy Helm, just to name a few.
With over twenty years to celebrate, hundreds of gigs ahead of them, and an ever-evolving grassroots sound; it looks like Donna the Buffalo is riding a cloud that is truly Silverlined.
Kairaba! plays music inspired by the ancient West-African griot tradition. Led by the kora, the 21-stringed harp-lute, this highly original blend of traditional and modern styles creates an infectious sound reminiscent of West African dance bands full of unison melody, adventurous improvisation, fiery solos and polyrhythmic frameworks. BiographyKairaba! is composed of Senegalese griot musician Diali Keba Cissokho, with North Carolinians John Westmoreland, Jonathan Henderson, Austin McCall and Will Ridenour. The band formed after Diali moved to North Carolina and began to look for musicians who shared his love and passion of creating music based on Manding tradition, but flavored with local and personal styles. The outcome of this collaboration is an infectious sound reminiscent of West African dance bands full of unison melody, adventurous improvisation, fiery solos and polyrhythmic frameworks. With lyrics in Manding, Wolof, and English, Kairaba! illuminates it’s listeners with stories of ancient and modern West Africa and how they relate to today’s universal experiences and emotions felt by everyone, regardless of origin. Influences include Sidiki Diabaté, Bassekou Kouyate, Toubab Krewe, Oumou Sangaré and Ali Farka Touré. Kairaba! invokes the participation of the audience in the creation of captivating musical moments that often incite spontaneous dancing by the performers and audiences alike, helping to create a peaceful and loving community.