Archive for January, 2013

The Second Annual, Virginia Key Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance will return to Miami, Florida February 21 thru 24, 2013 at the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park.  The four day GrassRoots Festival event will feature: music on four stages, on-site camping, Sustainability Fair & Expo, Kids’ Area, Dance Tent, World Foods Cafe, and Zen Village Area with Healing Arts, Yoga, movement workshops, massage, meditation and crafts.

Virginia_Key_Grassroots_PosterMusical highlights include: Inner Circle, Rusted Root, MC Yogi, Suenalo,
Donna the Buffalo, Keith Frank & His Soileau Zydeco Band, Spam Allstars,
Locos Por Juana, Elastic Bond, ArtOfficial, Driftwood, Johnny Dread, Revelation Mizik, Jose Conde, Keith Secola, Equanimous Minds, Osceola Brothers.

Local partners include: Virginia Key Beach Park Trust, Zen Village, Moksha Family Art Collective, and Community Arts & Culture.  These organizations are working in cooperation with the GrassRoots Festival Organization to produce the 2nd annual Virginia Key GrassRoots Festival.

GrassRoots Festival Organization Inc. is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation from Trumansburg, NY that has produced the yearly Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance. From its inception in 1991, the organization has raised over $1,000,000 for arts, education and the fight against AIDS at its summer festival events in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.  In 2003 the GrassRoots Festival Organization expanded its operation to North Carolina with the twice yearly, Spring and Fall, Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance.  The Virginia Key Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance is the winter season festival of the year-round not-for-profit music, dance and arts festival series.



For more information see the Virginia Key GrassRoots website: www.virginiakeygrassroots.org
or call: (786) 409-5261.
or visit our office: 107 NE 22nd Street, Miami FL, 33137
other GrassRoots websites:
www.grassrootsfest.org  www.shakorihillsgrassroots.org

Virginia Key Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance
February 21st-24th 2013
Historic Virginia Key Beach Park
4020 Virginia Beach Dr.
Virginia Key, Miami, Florida 33149

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John Driskell Hopkins & Balsam Range Debut at The Grand Ole Opry 3/8 And Perform Select Dates in The South

John Driskell Hopkins and Balsam Range Performances:

Fri 2/1 Asheville, NC Isis Music Hall
Thu 2/14 Nashville, TN The Basement
Fri 3/8  Nashville, TN The Grand Ole Opry
Sat 3/9 Knoxville, TN The Shed
Thu, 3/14 Athens GA The Melting Point
More dates tba at www.JohnDriskellHopkins.com


John Driskell Hopkins and Balsam Range are excited to perform at The Grand Ole Opry on Friday, March 8th! “I’m doubly honored to be able to play my own songs in one of the greatest music venues in the world,” says Hopkins. They will be performing music from Daylight, which was was independently released on Jan 22nd and will also be performing at select shows throughout the year.

JDH_BR_byJolieKimmelHopkins, widely known as a founding member and bass player for the Zac Brown Band, has been performing music for 20+ years. After hearing Balsam Range on Sirius XM one day, Hopkins, a lover of roots music of all varieties, called them up to see about accompanying him on his original tunes in a new album and a new musical bond was formed with outstanding results in Daylight.

Of performing with with BR, John says “Being on stage with Balsam Range is like body-surfing in warm butter-cream icing with hillbilly cherubs. Smooth…” Balsam Range is Buddy Melton (fiddle, vocals), Darren Nicholson (Mandolin, vocals), Marc Pruett (Banjo, Vocals), Caleb Smith (guitar, vocals), and Tim Surrett (bass, dobro, vocals).

What Folks Are Saying About Daylight:

“A twang-tastic new record… The chemistry between Hopkins and the band is smoking and they shine on the 13-track platter.”
-Jeffrey Sisk, The Daily News

CMT’s Craig Shelburne listed “I Will Lay Me Down” as a recommended track in indie releases

“…what a great sound for John! I’m excited for people to hear him in this raw and broken-down format, his unique voice front and center!”
-Oliver Wood (of the Wood Brothers)

“a voice huskier than Charlie Daniels after a hard night.”
Jim Farber, New York Daily News, #5 in Top 10 picks in music for the week of Jan. 20, 2013

“John Hopkins is a serious student of all kinds of music, and I think it comes through well in the songs he writes. He really runs the gambit from soft, Gospel-sounding acoustic, to hard, driving rock-swing things. John is a ‘power singer,’ and man he can deliver.”
–Balsam Range’s Marc Pruett

“John Hopkins’ new album, Daylight, has rich vocals and excellent pickers that are wrapped around well-crafted songs. What’s not to love?”
–Jim Lauderdale

“An excellent group of songs that fits somewhere in the acoustic country/indie/roots area… If you drew line graphs plotting the changes each song brings to a CD – tempo, subject, mood … – some CDs would flatline and the majority would show moderate spikes up and down. Daylight’s graph would look like the EKG of a person on speed, and every song is a good one.”
–Larry Stephens, Lonesome Road Review

“What pushes this album past other examples of country singers adopting bluegrass trappings is the diverse capabilities of Balsam Range. They’ve never been a traditional bluegrass band, and the arrangements here are more like acoustic country arrangements than Appalachian bluegrass. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that this sounds like one of the classic MTV Unplugged albums, which subverted the rock canon by killing all the electricity and forcing the performers to look inward for their power.”
–Devon Leger, Hearth Music, No Depression

Daylight has some material in common with ZBB, but is even more rootsy, thanks to Balsam Ridge’s involvement on every track. Resonator guitar heads are going wild over ‘Runaway Train,’ with Jerry Douglas sitting in. Banjo innovator Tony Trischka guests on the title cut.”
–Philadelphia City Paper

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Donna the Buffalo’s Live from American Ballroom listed on Stereophile’s 2012 “Records to Die For” List

Stereophile Magazine released their 2012 list of their 64 most favorite albums to have in an album collection … and Donna the Buffalo’s double live CD “Live From The American Ballroom” made this incredible list, that includes the likes of Led Zep’s “IV” and Phish’s “Rift”.  What an honor!

2012 Records To Die For:  At a time in history when the music business seems less interested in making anything of lasting value than in churning out disposable music—hits intended to be consumed for a few days via iPod, then left behind—the notion of cherishing the masterpieces, the records to die for, seems a lost art. Yet it’s exactly that state of being—as when Lady Gaga’s latest outfit commands a bigger spotlight than the recent Pink Floyd reissues—that makes our annual “Records To Die For” feature that much more essential.

Most audiophiles first amass a pile of music, then go out and get them some high-end gear. They may love their brushed knobs and pretty lights, but ultimately it’s about consuming the music—letting that timeless, resonant stuff fill your head and your heart with an endless supply of endlessly varied thoughts and feelings. Somehow, real music—the melodies you’d die for—doesn’t get old or lose its power. A new era gives it new meanings, and amplifies those you’d discovered in the past. It’s art you can count on—tunes that stand the test of time.

Every year, we ask our contributing editors, both hardware and music, to chose two collections of music they cherish, and to (briefly) tell us why. What follows are their impressions for 2012. Being truthful and unswayed by fashion are hallmarks of this magazine, and things are no different here in “R2D4.” So please enjoy these self-evident musical truths. Hopefully, they’ll remind you of some of your own. Keep listening!—Robert Baird

By Stereophile Staff • Posted: Jan 26, 2013 • Published: Feb 1, 2012

DONNA THE BUFFALO: Live from the American Ballroom

Wildlife Music WM001 (2 CDs). 2001. Donna the Buffalo, prods.; Alex Perialas, eng. DDD. TT: 119:54

Ballroom“Live records rarely hold up, in my book, and a two-CD live set is a stretch. But Donna the Buffalo is not your average live band. In this sextet, songwriting craftsmanship, a lofty cosmic perspective, and two superb front singers (songwriters Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins) meld in geosynchronous orbit with zydeco crosscurrents, rocking country accents, and the bodacious grooves that only wild-eyed souls with steel guitars, fiddles, accordions, rub boards, and the obligatory rompin’, stompin’ rhythm section can generate in front of an ass-packed, wild-whooping crowd! Big energy and songs that will stay in your head—and in steady rotation on your stereo—for years to come.”

Others on the list include:
GREG BROWN: The Live One
PETER GABRIEL: New Blood (Special Edition)
OTIS REDDING: The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads
YIM YAMES: Tribute To
ROXY MUSIC: For Your Pleasure
ORNETTE COLEMAN QUARTET: The Shape of Jazz to Come
ROBERT JOHNSON: The Complete Recordings: The Centennial Collection
MOZART: Violin Concertos 3–5, K. 216, 218, 219
SONIC YOUTH: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star
THE FLAMING LIPS: Clouds Taste Metallic
SYD BARRETT: Wouldn’t You Miss Me? The Best of Syd Barrett
THE MAMA’S AND THE PAPA’S: If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears
U2: Achtung Baby: 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

To see the full list and read the reviews, please visit: http://www.stereophile.com/content/2012-records-die-page-3

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John Driskell Hopkins teams up with Balsam Range,
to Independently Release Daylight on January 22, 2013

Available on iTunes and at www.JohnDriskellHopkins.com

“...what a great sound for John! I’m excited for people to hear him in this raw and broken-down format, his unique voice front and center!
Oliver Wood (of the Wood Brothers)

John Hopkins’ new album, Daylight, has rich vocals and excellent pickers that are wrapped around well-crafted songs. What’s not to love?” —Jim Lauderdale

A voice huskier than Charlie Daniels after a hard night.”
Jim Farber, New York Daily News, #5 in Top 10 picks in music for this week


DAYLIGHT_coverJohn Driskell Hopkins has walked the musical path for the last 20 years. As a bass player, guitar player, singer and songwriter for several bands of the rock variety, Hopkins rooted himself in the Atlanta, GA music scene in 1995, producing records and touring with his band Brighter Shade and later becoming a founding member of the Zac Brown Band to this day. Now he has teamed up with North Carolina-based band and Mountain Home Recording artists, Balsam Range, to record and independently produce a new album, Daylight, set for national release on January 22nd.

John is thrilled to have included several special guests on the album, including Zac Brown on “I Will Lay Me Down,” a sweet and sacred song; Levi Lowrey on “How Could I?” a song co-written by the two, and the heavenly Joey Feek of Joey + Rory on the autobiographical “Bye Baby Goodbye.” And of the musicians featured on Daylight, John could not have done better: the unmatched Jerry Douglas opens the record with dobro on “Runaway Train,” and Tony Trischka brings his banjo mastery to the title-track, “Daylight,” a longtime song in Hopkins’ repertoire about breaking through life’s troubles into brighter times.

JDH_BR_byJolieKimmelOf performing with with BR, John says “Being on stage with Balsam Range is like body-surfing in warm butter-cream icing with hillbilly cherubs. Smooth…” Balsam Range is Buddy Melton (fiddle, vocals), Darren Nicholson (Mandolin, vocals), Marc Pruett (Banjo, Vocals), Caleb Smith (guitar, vocals), and Tim Surrett (bass, dobro, vocals).

Balsam Range’s Marc Pruett says, “John Hopkins is a serious student of all kinds of music, and I think it comes through well in the songs he writes. He really runs the gambit from soft, Gospel-sounding acoustic, to hard, driving rock-swing things. John is a ‘power singer,’ and man he can deliver.”

If you’re a Zac Brown Band fan, you’ll hear a couple familiar songs, though most tracks are newly penned with BR’s talent and magic in mind, and a couple songs are some of John’s oldest tunes, written with his band of many years, Brighter Shade, and beautifully reworked for this special new project.

… in a song like ‘I Will Lay Me Down,’ Hopkins’ raw vocals turn to sweet honey with the picking beneath and the soft, high harmony of Zac Brown lifting him up. But no track rocks harder than ‘Runaway Train,’ as Jerry Douglas blazes on the dobro and Hopkins howls over the top like an old-time tent revival.” –Devon Leger, Hearth Music, No Depression First Spin

For more about John Driskell Hopkins and Daylight, visit www.JohnDriskellHopkins.com.

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Fantastic video of Tara Nevins performing her new Donna the Buffalo song “I Love My Tribe” solo backstage at The Green Parrot, in Key West, FL in Jan 2013. Thanks to Phil Sunkel and Hype-mag.com for coming out to shoot the vid and some great photos from the show as well.


I Love My Tribe
by Tara Nevins
Unofficial lyrics
Debut 3/24/12
Transcribed by Linda Dicus

See the world from the shape that I’m in
See the love that put me here
Like a square peg trying to bend
Got to make it through that circle again

Chasing time with worries I keep
I check the signs only now and then
I put my faith yeah in those I believe
Yeah I believe in the love of a friend

You might say it’s like sitting in the front seat
Driving in your favorite car
Well mine was stolen it was not broken
Now I’m looking for another one

I love my tribe (yeah, yeah)
I love my tribe (yeah, yeah)
I love my tribe (yeah, yeah)
I love my tribe

Straight ahead now I’m blowing off steam
Straight up yeah shooting from the inside
Lookout now yeah I’m picking up steam
Wide open with the heartache of a lifetime

Winding up the road
I’m searching for a gear that climbs
Well the brakes are gonna stop
This heart from beating out of time



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Town Mountain Winter and Spring Shows 2013

TwnMtn_byJasonBeverly_2012HiResTown Mountain is touring around their fourth album, Leave the Bottle, which was released September 4th, 2012 on Pinecastle Records and was produced by Grammy award-winner Mike Bub (Del McCoury Band) and engineered by banjoist extraordinaire Scott Vestal (Sam Bush Band) at his own Digital Underground Studio in Nashville, TN. After debuting at #4 on the Bluegrass Today Radio Chart on release week, Leave the Bottle has been generating rave reviews and serious airtime from bluegrass fans across the country. The album went on to be listed as #6 Best Bluegrass Album of 2012 by Pop Matters, and WNCW listeners voted it #19 in the Top 100 albums of 2012 and #7 in regional bands for the WNC area. Town Mountain is Robert Greer on vocals and guitar, Jesse Langlais on banjo and vocals, Phil Barker on mandolin and vocals, Bobby Britt on fiddle, and Jake Hopping on upright bass.

Town Mountain on Tour:
Fri 1/18/13 Asheville, NC The Isis Music Hall *MANNA Food Bank Benefit w/ Sanctum Sully
Sat 1/19/13 Knoxville, TN Barley’s Taproom
Tue 1/29/13 Tampa, FL Skippers Smokehouse
Wed 1/30/13 Fort Worth, FL  The Acoustic Trail Sundowner Series in The Lagoon Bar and Grill at The Lake Worth Golf Course
Thu-Mon 2/1-4/13  Miami, FL to the Bahamas Mountain Song at Sea
Fri 2/8/13 Lexington, NC High Rock Outfitters
Wed 2/13/13 Washington, DC Club Heaven and Hell *w/ Big Chimney
Fri 2/15/13 Framingham, MA Joe Val Bluegrass Festival
Sat 2/16/13 Chester, NJ Bernie’s Hillside Lounge
Fri 3/1/13 Charleston, SC The Charleston Music Hall *w/ Cumberland Gap
Fri 3/15/13  Charleston, WV The Boulevard Tavern
Sun 3/17/13  Amity, PA Rinky Dinks Roadhouse
Fri 3/29/13  Asheville, NC The Grey Eagle *w/ The Foghorn Stringband and Brad Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys
Sat 3/30/13  Knoxville, TN The Laurel Theatre *w/ The Foghorn Stringband
Fri 4/12/13  Greer, SC Spring Skunk Music Festival
Sat 4/13/13  Columbia, SC River Rocks Festival
Fri 5/31/13  Bean Blossom, IN John Hartford Memorial Festival
Sat 6/8/13  Lexington, KY Festival of the Bluegrass

Stay tuned for more dates TBA at www.TownMountain.net

“There’s a new mountain in town – Town Mountain – and they get down with heart, grit, soul, and drive! They’ll get you moving!”
–Jim Lauderdale

“Leave the Bottle‘s compositions are masterful, the interplay between the musicians is astounding, and Town Mountain supply it with an army of drive…
An absolute triumph of a record.”
Steven Spoerl, Pop Matters

“Centered around strong, soulful vocals, and poised to stay put. Town Mountain are true to bluegrass in all the right ways and this new project keeps them firmly connected to the traditions of the genre, while also allowing them to reach out into the broad horizon of string band music.”
–Woody Platt of the Steep Canyon Rangers

“I’m not sure what the definition of bluegrass would be in words alone, but if that definition was set to music, it would probably sound something like Town Mountain’s new Pinecastle Records release, ‘Leave the Bottle’… I could go on. There are no duds, and no filler songs on this project, which was produced by Mike Bub. But you get the point. This, my friends, is how bluegrass is supposed to sound.” –David Morris, Bluegrass Today


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Donna the Buffalo Winter and Spring 2013 Tour Announced

Photo by John D Kurc.

Photo by John D Kurc.

Donna the Buffalo will be touring throughout the East this Winter and into the Spring. This February marks their appearance at the 2nd annual Virginia Key GrassRoots Festival in Miami (the 4th in a family of GrassRoots Festivals hosted by Donna the Buffalo). In March, Donna the Buffalo returns, for the 17th year in a row, to Suwannee Springfest in Live Oak Florida!

Other festival highlights include the 10th Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival, MerleFest, Camp Jam in the Pines in New Jersey, the Blue Ridge BBQ Festival in NC. They will also be returning, for the 22nd year in a row, to the Great Blue Heron Festival in New York in July.

Donna the Buffalo’s music is rooted in old-time fiddle music that evolved into a soulful electric Americana mix infused with elements of Cajun/zydeco, rock, folk, reggae and country. They have been working on a 10th album which will be released this spring through Sugar Hill Records with the dynamic songwriting tandem of vocalists Jeb Puryear on guitar and vocals; Tara Nevins on fiddle, guitar, accordion, scrubboard and vocals; keyboardist Dave McCracken; bassist Kyle Spark; and drummer Mark Raudabaugh. More information about the album is forthcoming.

Stay tuned for more tour dates to be announced!

Donna the Buffalo Upcoming Shows

Fri 1/18/13 Floyd, VA Sun Music Hall
Sat 1/19/13 Charlottesville, VA Jefferson Theater
Sun 1/20/13 Saxapahaw, NC Haw River Ballroom
Thu 2/7/13 Saranac Lake, NY Waterhole Music Lounge
Fri 2/8/13 Northampton, MA Pearl Street *with Paint supporting!
Sat 2/9/13 Natick, MA Center for the Arts in Natick
Sun 2/10/13 Fall River, MA Narrows Center for the Arts
Thu-Sun 2/21-24/13 Miami, FL Virginia Key Grassroots
Thu 2/28/13 Charlotte, NC Neighborhood Theatre
Fri 3/1/13 Greensboro, NC Blind Tiger
Sat 3/2/13 Asheville, NC Orange Peel
Fri 3/22/13 Charleston, SC Pour House
Sat-Sun 3/23-24/13 Live Oak, FL Suwannee Springfest
Fri 4/12/13 Buffalo, NY The Tralf
Sat 4/13/13 Grand Rapids, MI The Intersection
Thu-Sun 4/18-21/13 Silk Hope, NC Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival
Fri 4/26-28/13 N Wilkesboro, NC MerleFest
Fri 5/3/13 Atlanta, GA Terminal West
Sat 5/4/13 St Pete, FL Jannus Landing
Sun 5/5/13 Jacksonville Beach, FL Freebird Cafe
Fri 5/10/13 Pittsburgh, PA Rex Theatre
Sat 5/11/13 Falls Church, VA State Theatre
Fri 5/17/13 Syracuse, NY Wescott Theater
Sat 5/18/13 Monroeville, NJ Camp Jam in the Pines
Sun 5/19/13 New York, NY City Winery
Sat 6/15/13 Tryon, NC Blue Ridge BBQ and Music Festival
Sat-Sun 7/6-7/13 Sherman, NY The Great Blue Heron Festival

More shows tba at www.donnathebuffalo.com

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