Archive for February, 2010

February 6, 5:31 PMCharlotte Music ExaminerMonty Chandler


Jeb Puryear of Donna the Buffalo performs at the Neighborhood Theatre Feb 5th, 2010

Numerous opportunities for great live music were on tap for Charlotte music lovers Friday night.  The down side is you really had to choose which artists you were going to see from a talented selection available.

To maximize viewing opportunities, this writer chose to see Donna the Buffalo with Split Lip Rayfield opening at the Neighborhood Theatre.  That show started at 8PM.  Then at 11:20PM I snuck out of that show and headed across the street to the Evening Muse to see StephaniesId at 11:30.

Split Lip Rayfield is a three person Americana band out of Witchita, KS.  The group are made up of Eric Maris on Banjo; Wayne Gottstine on Mandolin; and Jeff Eaton on a single string Gas Tank Bass.  That’s right – a Gas Tank Bass made from the gas tank of an old car.  Check out the photos to see for yourself!  The guys sounded great with a definite folk rock progressive beat that had a large audience on their feet.

Photos of the Split Lip Rayfield performance..

The headliner for the night is the legendary Americana group and music festival favorite Donna the Buffalo.  The herd was definitely present and accounted for tonight!  Bluegrass, folk, zydeco, rock and lovely ballads were the rich mixture of diverse music emanating from this very talented group of musicians.  Normally the vocals for the group are split between Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins, but tonight Tara had no voice.  She was barely able to speak.  Whispering with her before the show, she was disappointed in not being able to sing, but realizing there really wasn’t much she could do about it (other than make it worse by trying to sing) she took it in stride and decided that the show must go on.  That meant that Jeb would carry the load.  Something he did masterfully I might add!

Donna the Buffalo members are Jeb Puryear (vocals & guitar); Tara Nevins (vocals, guitar, electric fiddle, accordian,& scrubboard); Vic Stafford (drums); David McCracken (keyboards); Jay Sanders (bass).  Check out their sound on their MySpace page!

Photos of the Donna the Buffalo performance..

Then it was on to the Evening Muse to to enjoy the unique pop rock sound that belongs to StephaniesId.  With a set decorated in a little fluffy girlie stuff, the band set out to entertain a large audience with an almost 90 minute set of fan favorites ranging across all three of the bands albums.  StephaniesId is Stephanie Morgan (vocals, guitar); Chuck Lichtenberger (keys, vocals); Tim Haney (drums); Jacob Rodriguez (Saxophone); Justin Ray (Trumpet, French Horn).  An excellent horn section sets this group apart!

Photos of the StephaniesId performance..

Keepin’ it live,

Monty Chandler

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By Margaret Hair posted: Thursday, February 4, 2010 in The Steamboat Pilot


Lydia See/courtesy Jason Krekel and Ami Worthen, the musicians behind Mad Tea Party, are set to play a free show Feb 4th at Ghost Ranch Saloon.

Steamboat Springs — Holding her ukulele with intent to attack, Ami Worthen has barreled into rockabilly music with a wry sense of humor and lots of instrumental power.

As the leading voice of Asheville, N.C.-based duo Mad Tea Party, Worthen puts an amplified ukulele to work on songs that draw heavily on a variety of musical styles and cover topics from love to zombies. Her band — which also features multi-instrumentalist Jason Krekel on electric guitar, fiddle and drums — plays a free show at 9 p.m. today at Ghost Ranch Saloon.

When Mad Tea Party started playing about six years ago, the band was taking a more folk-oriented, early jazz direction, Worthen said. That kind of music fit her choice of ukulele as a main instrument, and it worked with her throwback-molded singing style.

There still are traces of those early influences in what Mad Tea Party does today, but the band evolves with its tastes in music.

“There are so many different kinds of music, so we have a lot of different incarnations as far as what genres we’ve focused on over the years,” Worthen said.

As classically danceable rock ’n’ roll from the 1950s and ’60s worked its way into Worthen and Krekel’s record rotations, those jangling rhythms also worked their way into Mad Tea Party’s musical mind.

“I play a really driving rhythm that’s almost like a snare drum or a Jerry Lee Lewis keyboard rhythm. … So I’m keeping the train going along rhythmically but also adding a chordal element to it,” Worthen said. “It fills in a space in the music that really helps it all gel.”

Krekel added a bass drum, marching snare and hi-hat cymbal to his stage setup, and Worthen applied her ukulele strumming to the newfound surf-rock sound.

“Through our desire to rock out more, we just figured out what we could do to make a fuller sound, and people are really surprised when they come see us — they can’t believe there are only two of us,” Worthen said.

After finishing a two-week tour of Colorado, Mad Tea Party plans to do a run of shows with fellow North Carolina-based, honky-tonk-influenced showmen Southern Culture on the Skids. Worthen said the two bands share an approach to making music.

“If somebody knows about them and their show, there’s a similarity to what we’re doing with our live show — just kind of fun and irreverent and rockin’,” she said.

If you go

What: Mad Tea Party

When: 9 p.m. Thursday Feb 4th

Where: Ghost Ranch Saloon, 56 Seventh St.

Cost: Free

Call: 879-9898

Online: Learn more about the band at www.themadteaparty.com.

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Jeb and Tara from Donna the Buffalo visited Late for Work with Tad Abbey  on WNRN on February 4th before their show at Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville. They chatted and played some tunes live on the air.

Check out the podcast from the interview at this link:  cvillepodcast.com/donna-the-buffalo-at-wnrn

Here is a video of them performing Locket and Key:

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Donna the Buffalo appeared live on WNCW’s Studio B with Martin Anderson and Dennis Jones on January 28th in . John Watson with Watson Video Productions came out and filmed the session.



Interview with Martin Anderson:

If You Only Could:

Ding, Dang Dong:

Spinning World:

It’s Love Time:

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By Kevin Oliver

Free Time: Columbia News and Art

Issue #23.05 :: 02/02/2010 – 02/08/2010


Bluegrass is a genre sometimes at odds with itself. There’s a focus on tradition, yet some of the most celebrated practitioners of the music can be the most adventuresome. Nickel Creek, New Grass Revival, Steep Canyon Rangers and more have earned a name for themselves by blowing up conventions and pushing the boundaries of bluegrass; based on his recordings, collaborations and mind-expanding live shows, Virginian Larry Keel ought to be added to that list.

Photo by Bright Life photography

From his earliest group Magraw Gap through the more wide-ranging Larry Keel Experience and now with Natural Bridge, his music has taken the standards of bluegrass and Appalachian mountain music and interpreted them through masterful instrumental prowess and an ear for collaboration. Natural Bridge, originally billed as a more traditional group for flat-picking guitar master Keel but which has become increasingly less so, includes wife Jenny Keel on bass and vocals, Mark Schimick on mandolin and vocals and Jason Flournoy on banjo and vocals.

Flournoy says he wound up playing with Keel simply by being in the right place at the right time.

“[Keel] had formed Natural Bridge about a year-and-a-half before I joined,” Flournoy says. “I had been playing in a Boulder, Colo., band that toured nationally and I was ready to move back to the Southeast to be near my family. Larry asked me to join right when that other band was coming to an end. We met over 12 years ago, and he’s had me sit in with him a few times at festivals we both played, so it was an easy choice.”

The biggest challenge for any group is learning to play well together, and Flournoy says the members of Natural Bridge are at the peak of that learning curve these days.

“It has a lot to do with being comfortable with each other,” he says. “And we’ve now been on the road three and a half years. We know each other real well, and there’s a real telepathic communication going on, with solid rhythm onstage.”

Flournoy sees his own role in this as a fluid one.

“I just fit in wherever I need to,” he says. “Sometimes it’s chopping out a rhythm with the backbeat, sometimes I take solos. It’s whatever fits into the fabric of the music, melodically; the main thing is to serve the music, not yourself.”

Backwoods, the new Natural Bridge album, is a co-production between Keel and frequent collaborator Keller Williams, whose own jam-based acoustic music has garnered a large following of its own.

“Larry and Keller have been friends since they were teenagers, and Keller used to open for … Magraw Gap,” Flournoy says. “They have always created music together and hung out. They have a good time doing it, and it works well for both of them.”

What works well on the new album is the mixture of instrumental tunes, new original compositions and a well-chosen cover or two. Even the latter category holds a surprise or two. Sure, Natural Bridge does a Beatles tune, but it’s not a common hit: It’s “Mother Nature’s Son.” And kudos to Keel for picking a classic from underappreciated country songwriter Tom T. Hall, “Faster Horses.”

“That’s a great example of the kind of song we cover,” Flournoy says. “Music that we all like, songs that we hear and fall in love with and think we can have an adaptation that’s original enough.”

As for what’s next for Keel and Natural Bridge, Flournoy offers an enticing sneak preview.
“It took a couple years to get this one finished up, so we have enough new songs to do two more albums,” he says. “Right now we’re concentrating on playing live and fired up about lots of good stuff happening this year.”

The White Mule is at 1530 Main St. Doors open at 8 p.m.; tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door. Call 661-8199 or visit thewhitemule.com for more information.

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by: Bill Kramer • columnist • February 4, 2010

The Staunton News Leader


Charlottesville’s venerable Jefferson Theater recently reopened after renovations that reportedly have the old venue in pristine shape, so it’s appropriate that it will play host to Donna the Buffalo tonight.

Donna the Buffalo is an established, well-loved band and has 21 years of touring under its belt, and like the Jefferson, DTB has undergone some changes as well during that span.

The good news to the “Herd,” as followers of the group are known, is that the two mainstays of the band, Jeb Puryear (vocals, lead guitar) and Tara Nevins (vocals, fiddle, washboard, accordion), are still front and center and are being ably supported by Jay Sanders (bass), Vic Stafford (drums) and David McCracken (keyboards).

By all accounts, DTB is still playing its own unique brand of cosmic rock ‘n’ roll boogie, always interspersed with plenty of Cajun, Zydeco and reggae with the usual casual stage approach that still packs plenty of intensity and accompanies the joyous dancing of the Herd.

Puryear spoke to Cincy Groove magazine last year about the band’s longevity and its ability to take on new blood, noting the fans play a big part in the music.

“We are lucky enough to have a good musical chemistry, especially with the changes over the years,” he said. “Somehow the band has maintained a certain spirit and personality that lets people plug into what we are doing. We definitely have good, solid support. The audience really helps us keep that musical spirit, especially when there are changes in the band or if we are going through rough times.”

The band began in upstate New York when Puryear and Nevins crossed paths following their love of old-time music. As they continued to play together, their sound evolved into what presently is the eclectic sound of DTB.

The pair has written more than 140 original songs that are showcased in excellent live shows with all kinds of covers, including work by Bob Marley, Townes Van Zandt and others.

As Puryear recounted, the songs seem to accumulate, which leads to the times they decide to record.

“We are constantly writing songs, so after a while they build up, and then we’ll decide to make a record,” he said. “Then, of course, there are times when we write a couple at the last second to put on a record.”

The band’s last release was “Silverlined,” which came out in 2008. The band is working on new material, including a new Puryear song “Tonight, Tomorrow, Yesterday.” The band is playing that tune in live shows now, as well as a take on the old traditional “Peggy-O,” which Nevins brought to the band after touring last year for a few months with Bill Kreutzmann’s BK3.

Longtime fans have remarked that despite the occasional changes in personnel, the presence of Puryear and Nevin guarantees an authentic Donna-the-Buffalo experience. When Nevins begins on fiddle, and Puryear closes his eyes, lost in the music as he spins out scattershot guitar lines on his Telecaster, it will certainly be like old times, for the band, the Herd and the old lady Jefferson.

E-mail Go! music critic Bill Kramer at b.kramer@mailcity.com.

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By Matt Wake
Greenville, SC Metromix, posted originally February 3, 2010


Photo by Bright Life Photography

Folk guitar whiz Larry Keel’s career arc has included close encounters with rural music heroes. His former band, McGraw Gap, once opened for mandolin great Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass, at a Harrisonburg, Va., show. As Keel and company closed their set with “When You’re Lonely,” a classic penned by Monroe and Lester Flatt, things really got interesting.

“(Monroe) had a walk to the stage that was probably 400 yards,” Keel remembers, “and he danced the whole way there in front of the crowd and got the whole crowd clapping.”

Recently, Keel and his band, The Natural Bridge, have been playing shows with another bluegrass legend, flat-picker Tony Rice.
“Every time I step onstage with Tony Rice, it’s a complete honor and completely awe inspiring,” Keel says. “I’ve been a fan for 30 years now.”

Keel describes his own material as “the music of the mountains.” A southwest Virginia native, Keel has a busy winter and spring lined up to bring those vibes elsewhere. In addition to the Rice tour, Keel and his wife are recording a second “Keller and the Keels” album with jam-scene star Keller Williams.

What’s a way you baby your guitars?
I fly a lot now so I keep them in a good flight case. That tends to really take care of them. I’ve got some old guitars from the ’30s and I don’t really take them on the road. That’s the best way to take care of those.

You’ve played with Jorma Kaukonen from Jefferson Airplane. He’s a guitar player who really gets overlooked when people talk about the all-time great rock guys.
You know I love to watch Jorma play for just the sensual-ness he plays with, and I really, really love the tone he pulls out of an electric guitar. Like you said, he really gets overlooked among rock guitar players, which is a sin. On top of it, he’s probably one of the nicest fellows I’ve ever met.

What’s a loud rock band that you think does acoustic music really well, too?
It’s difficult for me to say. I would have to say that Leftover Salmon was always one of my favorites for being bluegrass and rock ‘n’ roll at the same time.

A lot of your shows are available on Internet Archive. What live stuff have you been listening to lately?
There’s a guitarist from Ireland named Paul Brady, and he’s quite fascinating, really soulful.

You work a lot in the acoustic realm. Do you think a song needs to be able to be performed acoustically to have merit?
That’s a good assessment. I think music can be anything…just the voice is so musical. But I believe music has to have soul.

Larry Keel & The Natural Bridge play Gottrocks at 9 p.m. Feb. 5. Tickets are $10. For more information, call 864-235-5519 or visit http://www.larrykeel.com.

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