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Posts Tagged ‘Dawn of the Buffalo’

by CLARA ROSE THORNTON – Published: February 10, 2011

In 2005, I began working for a music promotions organization called Home Grown Music Network, based out of Mebane, N.C. Founded by radio DJ and music fanatic Lee Crumpton in 1995, it’s a multi-platform company that offers a pool of volunteers, nationwide, willing to promote touring bands in exchange for free music and concert tickets.

Bands are chosen as network members through a rigorous selection process that aims to pinpoint the best independent groups in and surrounding America’s festival scene — bands that don’t fit neatly into simplified genres like “roots rock,” “jam,” or rock‘n’roll’s other current labels.

Once chosen, HGMN (www.homegrownmusic.net) provides several career resources for these groups trudging through the mire of a frenetic — if not negligent — music industry without corporate backing. In addition to the cells of volunteers and fans around the country, bands also get to sell their CDs and merchandise through the well-trafficked website, get added to playlists at affiliate radio stations, and be put in the faces of thousands who might not have heard them otherwise.

HGMN even started its own record label, Harmonized, in 2002.

Needless to say, the folks behind the organization — Crumpton and press/volunteer coordinator Chris Robie — are indefatigable. When I signed on as a volunteer and later a journalist, I received at regular intervals boxes upon boxes of music catalogs, posters, stickers and the best part — free CDs.

I devoured these LPs, EPs, live discs and samplers. In addition to starting my music journalism career, HGMN turned my home into the lush flowering pot of musical mayhem that it remains.

And, as many musicians and promoters know, the relationships between fans and bands of true substance often prove unbreakable.

During this time I discovered Sim Redmond Band from Ithaca, N.Y., whose worldbeat track “All is Not Lost” entered the hallowed ground of my Top 10. I discovered The Bridge, a sumptuous and energetic rock sextet from Baltimore, who, in fact, I’m making a three-hour road trip to see tonight, at Higher Ground in Burlington. I brought my love of them with me when I moved from Chicago to Vermont. That’s the sort of dedication these bands inspire.

Donna the Buffalo was one of these groups. When seeing it in the catalogue, I thought the name was rather strange, but intriguing. It struck me as possibly some Native American band full of environmental activists, people whose concerts included ritual and howls and 10-minute drum jams.

photo by Jim Gavenus

The howls are there, I came to find out, but there are many more whines of the accordion and wisps of Cajun/zydeco tomfoolery involved than riffs on global warming or trance-inducing drum circles. Donna the Buffalo, a 21-year-old cult favorite quintet from Trumansburg, N.Y., is energetic, inventive and soulful, and imagine the thrust down memory lane I experienced when seeing they’d be playing Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction on Saturday. They’ve kept trucking, against the odds for an independent band, and are more popular and prolific than ever.

“We were sitting together in a circle one day, in the earliest days of the band, trying to come up with a name,” recalled co-founder and co-bandleader Tara Nevins, via telephone from the road. “We knew we wanted ‘buffalo’ in there somehow. Someone said ‘Dawn of the Buffalo’ jokingly, mocking a Hallmark sort of theme. But we misheard him and thought he said ‘Donna the Buffalo.’”

“We started laughing, because these things get silly sometimes, and couldn’t stop laughing,” Nevins continued. “We thought it sounded cool and it stuck.”

Nevins — who contributes accordion, scrubboard, fiddle, guitar and vocals — founded Donna the Buffalo with guitarist/vocalist Jeb Puryear in Ithaca, N.Y., in 1990. Nevins had been a longtime fiddle player, and she and Puryear began writing songs together with no definitive plan in place, just exercising creativity in that college town’s rich musical milieu. After returning from a trip to southwest Louisiana for Mardi Gras, she was so deeply inspired by the Cajun and Creole music she’d encountered that she added a zydeco flair to her playing, soon recruiting more members and solidifying the sound of the fledgling band.

Through two decades on the road and seven albums, the band has garnered a dedicated fanbase, coining itself “The Herd.” Puryear’s and Nevins’ poetic lyrics that contemplate life’s longing, losses and exuberance, along with the occasionally kitschy, though upbeat and fun, Louisiana-inspired soundscapes provide quite the singular concert experience. For example, just yesterday, when mentioning my Nevins interview on my Facebook page, a Bellows Falls friend named Dagan Selbach-Broad immediately got excited and responded, “I love Donna the Buffalo! I’ve seen them over 40 times!”

Nevins will release a solo album entitled “Wood and Stone” in April on Sugar Hill Records. Donna the Buffalo’s show on Saturday at Tupelo Music Hall, a BYOB venue, begins at 8 p.m.

Two other concerts occur in southern Vermont this weekend in that road warrior spirit of purity, that essence of which Home Grown Music Network lauds and nurtures.

The first, incidentally, is also a Home Grown band and a zydeco band, Buckwheat Zydeco, from Lafayette, La.

Buckwheat Zydeco

Buckwheat Zydeco is the stage name of accordion player Stanley Dural Jr., born in 1947. He’s one of the only traditional zydeco acts to achieve mainstream, pop culture success; the band is a household name among southern music fans.

He brings his group, formerly billed as “Buckwheat Zydeco and Ils Son Partis Band” to the Bellows Falls Opera House at 8 p.m. tonight.

And tomorrow, San Antonio, Texas, alternative-country songbird Rosie Flores brings her distinctive mixture of Tex-Mex, rockabilly, honky tonk and jazz/swing to Boccelli’s On the Canal in Bellows Falls at 7:30 p.m.

It’s a weekend of from-the-heart, multicultural creative whimsy happening around our stomping grounds. Throw your best “devil may care” glance to the snow and add your yelp.

Clara Rose Thornton is a freelance cultural critic and arts journalist originally hailing from Chicago who now lives in an artists’ colony in Bellows Falls. She can be reached at clara@inkblotcomplex.com, or through her website, clararosethornton.com. Follow her at twitter.com/ClaraRose.

READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE POST HERE: http://rutlandherald.com

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The truth behind the name of Donna the Buffalo: It actually was not a slurred MC… and it was never actually the name of the band.
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They had a session trying to figure out the name of the band and a musician friend, kind of as a joke, suggested, “Dawn of the Buffalo”. The band at the time including Tara and Jeb all herd “Donna the Buffalo” and reacted positively to that.  They knew they wanted “buffalo” in the name and they’re not sure why they liked it, they just did and from the first show on they have been known as “Donna The Buffalo”.
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To hear the REAL story of how DtB got their name listen in to this podcast interview with Jeremiah Greer, DtB interview starts at the top of the 2nd hr.
They talk about the name about at hour 1:15

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Check out this writeup about Donna the Buffalo in Chattanooga. It was for their show at Rhythm and Brews on May 6th.

Also here is a link to Matt Dunmore Photography who took some great photos that night: http://mattdunmorephotography.com/www/05-2010/photography/donna-the-buffalo-rhythm-brews/

Photo by Matt Dunmore Photography

No One’s Buffalo is Named Donna

Written by Tara Morris,  Chattanooga Pulse
May 5, 2010 – 1:01 pm

Donna The Buffalo is a five-person ensemble consisting of Tara Nevins, Jeb Puryear, Dave McCracken, Jay Sanders, and Vic Stafford. For 21 years, this roots group has toured and spread their love of feel-good music that connects poetry, spirituality, and socially conscious ideals. Their 2008 release Silverlined on Sugar Hill Records hit number 8 on the Americana Music Chart.

To those not in the know, Donna The Buffalo might seem an “interesting” name. Countless scenarios of why someone would name their buffalo Donna engage the mind—but I have come to find out that it was purely a mistake. During their first show, an “under the influence” MC slurred their name from “Dawn of the Buffalo” to “Donna The Buffalo”—and they never went back.

A sweet story, just like the sweetness found in Tara Nevins’s vocals and the bounce in their sound. Words of peace and justice, love, life, and death flow from the speakers…Jeb and Tara have sung more than 140 songs together with DTB. This band has graced the stages of Bonnaroo, Camp Bisco, Rothbury, and Austin City Limits, to name a few. They’ve worked with such artists as Bela Fleck, Jim Lauderdale, Preston and Keith Frank, and with Nevins touring with the drummer of the Grateful Dead, Bill Kreutzmann’s band BK3, this band is no joke.

After more than 20 years of bringing musical love to the masses, it’s no surprise this band has an extensive fan base calling themselves “The Herd”. This unique and supportive community follows the band with zeal and is an extension of the band’s dedication to community and roots music. The music of DTB transcends age, and prides itself on expressing a celebration of life with every stroke of the fiddle and squeeze of the accordion.

This Thursday night, DTB will be joined by Nashville’s own Infamous Stringdusters, a Chattanooga favorite whose fusion of acoustic bluegrass is sure to impress. When these boys came together, they were hardly new to the scene, with ties to artists such as Dolly Parton, Charlie Daniels, and Vanessa Carlton. After the 2007 release of Fork in the Road, they toured extensively. The band starred in a documentary made about their touring experience, and signed a deal with Lions Gate Films, which will license their music for commercials and other media.

Despite all the name-dropping, these bands have worked their way up and will surely give you a chance to relax, engage, and get down. Dougher told me how long he has been trying to get Donna The Buffalo and shared his excitement. Once again it is a big week in the Valley for music, and with the many choices, we must all quit our jobs, panhandle for ticket money and give it all to every show we can. If this is a bit too much, then make a date and go see why Donna The Buffalo has been able to perform for so long.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://chattanoogapulse.com/music/music-feature/no-ones-buffalo-is-named-donna/

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