Posts Tagged ‘Appalachian mountain music’

Check out this great article in the Weekender that interview Tara Nevins of Donna the Buffalo for their show this Saturday, September 11th at the FM Kirby Center with Railroad Earth:

Buffalo roams to its own Americana beat

This weekend, concertgoers in Northeastern Pa. will get a taste of some truly authentic and original music when the bands Donna the Buffalo and Railroad Earth roll into the F.M. Kirby Center. Both bands have built their reputations on their dedication and love for making and performing music, and if reputations speak for themselves, there’s no doubt Donna the Buffalo’s performance will exceed any and all expectations.

Donna the Buffalo is comprised of Tara Nevins, Jeb Puryear, Vic Stafford, David McCracken and Kyle Spark. Though the band has been distributing its music for about 21 years, Nevins and Puryear are the only original members. Their paths crossed often, way back when, while they were each performing and traveling to festivals in the South, and their friendship was a slow evolution into writing and performing songs together. The roots of all of the band members are spread across the East Coast and the South, and most of them found their way to Donna the Buffalo through the age-old practice of word-of-mouth or just through circulating through the same music scenes.

The band draws it influences from many sources, including traditional Appalachian mountain music and zydeco (a kind of folk music that originated in Louisiana often characterized by the fiddle, accordion and scrub board), but there is no doubt Donna The Buffalo has got a distinctive sound all its own.

“(Our sound) is really danceable,” Nevins said. “It’s not hard rock; it has an upbeat, positive feeling. It’s hard to pigeonhole it.” She went on to offer a description of the band’s music as “Americana original dance music.”

That distinctive sound is one that has certainly struck a chord with many fans. Some diehards have bonded so completely over their mutual adoration for the band that they’ve aptly dubbed themselves The Herd. Nevins noted that the presence of many of these fans at multiple shows has the feeling of an extended family on the road, and no doubt many lifelong friendships have been formed.

… … … …

And speaking of that fun nature, Nevins described the experience that one might look forward to at the upcoming Wilkes-Barre performance as just a downright good time.

“They can expect a really friendly, comfortable crowd, and a real community-oriented, positive experience,” she said.

With the exception of one Johnny Cash song, Donna the Buffalo is known for performing its own music, and while some of that music carries with it a sociopolitical message, most of it is just an upbeat commentary on life.

For Nevins, touring is a rewarding experience in many ways. The fact that she is able to live out her passion for music and performing is, of course, one perk to being on the road. But she also enjoys the process of meeting new people and spending time with the members of the band, and the idea of kinship that is so visible with the band’s tight-knit fanbase is also apparent in the band itself.

“(Touring) feels purposeful, and it’s very hard work, but it has great rewards,” said Nevins.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HEREhttp://www.theweekender.com/music/Buffalo_roams_to_its_own_Americana_beat_09-07-2010.html

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By Lauren LaRocca
News-Post Staf


Originally published December 11, 2009

Larry Keel & Natural Bridge: heritage, heart and hot licks
Courtesy photoLarry Keel, far right, with his band, Natural Bridge.

Show Details at a glance:

What: Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, with opening act Bob KeelWhen: 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11

Where: Bentz Street Sports Bar, 6 S. Bentz St., Frederick

Tickets: $13 in advance and $15 the day of the show

Information: 301-620-2222;


Note: This is a 21 and over event.

Jenny Keel was a bluegrass fanatic. She went to all the shows and festivals in the Lexington, Va., area, where she’s lived for 20 years, and was pleasantly shocked a few years back when she stumbled upon “a couple pickers I didn’t recognize … and they were cute,” she said.One of the musicians was guitarist Larry Keel, who Jenny would later marry. The flatpicking guitarist also inspired her to pick up the bass, and she now plays upright for his band Natural Bridge, performing at Bentz Street Sports Bar tonight.

Larry started the acoustic Americana act about five years ago, with Mark Schimick on mandolin and vocals and Jason Flournoy on banjo and vocals, in addition to Jenny.

Larry, known for his high energy sound, was raised in Virginia, among traditional bluegrass music. His songwriting extends to include contemporary genres and innovation. However, Natural Bridge still plays the classics.

He has played with the likes of Tony Rice, Vassar Clements, Sam Bush, Del McCoury, John Hartford, Bill Monroe, Mike Marshall and Darol Anger, among others. He regularly collaborates with Yonder Mountain String Band, Keller Williams, Jorma Kaukonen, David Nelson, Jim Lauderdale, members of String Cheese Incident and Leftover Salmon.

“Larry’s talents and versatility make it so a lot of other artists are interested in playing with him,” Jenny said. “And he’s a super fine solo act. He sprinkles that throughout the year.”

Traditional music is “still really, really a presence” in Virginia, she continued. “It’s not just, like, a new fad. You hear bluegrass music in Wal-Mart parking lots. It’s cool.”

After college, Jenny was busy teaching French and English to high schoolers until Larry Keel entered her life.

“This hit me like a ton of bricks,” she said. “I was getting that nudge to play. I couldn’t help it. I had to give in to it. I found my passion.

The couple created the album “Grass” with Keller Williams, and they’re heading into the studio with him soon to record a second album together.

Natural Bridge is influenced by everything from jazz to Hendrix to Appalachian mountain music.

“We all are deep, deep music lovers,” she said. “It’s very original, the combination of it all. We play things from the heart.”

They play whatever they’re feeling at the moment and write their own material as well. They deem themselves Americana only because they play acoustic instruments.

“Larry’s songs can be very rock,” Jenny said. “It definitely can be a Metallica feeling, but you’re hearing it through upright bass.”

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