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Celebrated Donna the Buffalo artist releases introspective solo album produced by Larry Campbell with guests including Levon Helm, Jim Lauderdale, Allison Moorer, Teresa Williams and more…

Nashville, TN—March 7, 2011 – American roots traditionalist Tara Nevins releases an exploration of her own heritage, musical and otherwise, in Wood and Stone, her first solo album since Mule to Ride in 1999. Wood and Stone showcases her ever-evolving repertoire as she journeys both back to her own “roots” and head-long into new territory.

Tara Nevins. Photo by John D Kurc

Fans of Nevins from her 21-year tenure with Donna the Buffalo are familiar with her versatile talents; she shares the vocal and songwriting responsibilities for the band and is a stellar musician on fiddle, guitar, and accordion. (She plays a mean scrubboard too.) Prior to DTB, Nevins was a founding member of the all-female, old time/Cajun band The Heartbeats. (They join her on two tracks here as well.) Wood and Stone delivers the musical expertise fans have come to expect and surprises with new perspectives.

“This album is personal and sort of revelatory,” Nevins says. “It’s an expression of recent emotional discovery within relationships lost and found, and how knowing the core of who we are is the real deal. There were so many elements I wanted to explore—to combine all the pieces of my personal musical puzzle–and then have it come together in a cohesive whole. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Larry Campbell. I am honored to have had him both produce and play on my record. He’s an amazingly talented and soulful musician. He has a very natural, down-to-earth approach and an instinctual insightfulness that I really appreciate; he really got what I was after. The whole experience was inspiring and challenging in a very positive way.”

Campbell is a much-sought-after musician/producer renowned for his work with Bob Dylan and still rolling from the success of Levon Helm’s two Grammy- winners, Dirt Farmer and Electric Dirt, which he produced. He found Nevins’s project immediately compelling. “I liked the feel of the project– her combination of old-time mountain music and original songwriting—and I was taken with Tara’s unique talent; she’s got a distinctive voice—there’s a kind of honesty that shines through.”

The record kicks off with the title cut “Wood and Stone,” and that “honest” element is readily apparent in this touching tribute to home and family. Old-timey acoustics are quickly joined by drums and steel guitars as Nevins sings about “the better part of me” regarding her upbringing and early influences. “It’s got that magical blend of music and lyrics,” Campbell says of it, “and it really paints a picture of where she comes from.”

Ten of the thirteen tracks are originals, and Nevins’s complexity gets a broad stage. She dispenses wit and wisdom with an atypical take on love and relationships through gritty songs such as “You’ve Got It All” and “You’re Still Driving That Truck,” then turns to wrenching hearts with songs like “Snowbird” (accompanied by Jim Lauderdale), a beautiful metaphorical ballad about the pain of loving someone unable to truly give back, and “Tennessee River,” a haunting, gripping song about the stranglehold love can have over a person’s whole existence. “Stars Fell on Alabama” sounds like it fell from her heart and pen too, but Nevins has the capacity to take a well-known standard like this, change the melody, and perform it so ingenuously that it fits in seamlessly to the whole groove of the record.

The record is “framed” by another nostalgic piece, “The Beauty of the Days Gone By” (by Van Morrison), bringing the record full-circle and serving as a sort of catharsis for the dark tone of “Tennessee River”. “I wanted to end the record with it,” Nevins explains, “because I love the sentiment of the song and it’s kind of like ‘the sun always comes back out’ kind of thing. We grow and learn and take our relationships with us for better and for worse and that’s life in all its beauty and glory.”

Nevins’s rare blend of enormous talent coupled with genuine down-home humbleness has won the hearts of fans and colleagues alike. “Tara has this worldly awareness combined with a fragile innocence,” Larry Campbell notes, “which makes her songwriting and music very accessible…very appealing.” Wood and Stone is sure to add to that appeal.

www.sugarhillrecords.com

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Donna the Buffalo is on for a great weekend heading through Nashville, Greensboro, and Asheville. There are lots of great interviews for the shows which are posted below. Co-band leader, Tara Nevins, kicked of the day yesterday with a solo studio session on the Lightning  100 with Lt Dan. Then the band went over to the Loveless Barn for a Music City Roots performance with other amazing artist including  Catie Curtis, The Cleverlys, The Black Lillies, and Rayland Baxter. Check out some wonderful pics from the night here.

DtB will be playing on Cannery Street tonight in Nashville at the Mercy Lounge with the Roy Jay Band, who is on the road with DtB for several shows this winter. Here’s a nice writeup in the Nashville Scene by Edd Hurt about the show:

Photo by Jim Gavenus

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. Hailing from the metropolis of Trumansburg, N.Y., Donna the Buffalo began playing their mixture of country, soul, zydeco and folk 20 years ago, and they’ve never sounded better. On their 2008 full-length Silverlined, songwriters Tara Nevins and Jeb Puryear came up with such great songs as “Biggie K,” which may be the finest tune ever written about childbirth: “Though her stomach’s stretched and pulled / She’s never been more beautiful.” The quintet’s easy way with American roots music suggests a fusion of Brinsley Schwarz and The Holy Modal Rounders, and they make music that’s beautiful but never prettified. They say they have a couple of projects in the works, including a full-band effort and a solo record by Nevins.  Read the original post at nashvillescene.com.

On Friday, January 28th, they head on over to Greensboro, NC to play at the new Blind Tiger. David McCracken, DtB’s B3 Hammond player, grew up in Greensboro and did this great interview with Eddie Huffman from GoTriad.com:

photo by Jim Gavenus

From the moment Greensboro native Dave McCracken first saw Donna the Buffalo play live, at MerleFest in 1997, he knew he belonged in the band.

“I watched them for the first time, and I remember I saw them move the organ across the stage,” McCracken says, speaking by phone from his mother’s house in Liberty. “I said out loud, ‘Man, that should be me.’ Ten years later — 10 years later! — it’s me. I swear, I don’t even know how that happened. I just knew it should be me for some reason.”

. . .    . . .    . . .

Donna the Buffalo formed in 1989 in upstate New York but has made many N.C. connections in the years since — McCracken and North Wilkesboro’s MerleFest among them. The group signed with Sugar Hill Records, a fixture in Durham for more than two decades before the label moved its offices to Nashville, and the members of Donna the Buffalo founded the twice-yearly Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance in rural Chatham County, now entering its eighth year.

. . .    . . .    . . .

Jam band fans already knew McCracken via Folkswaggin’, which started in Greensboro in 1994 and played at the Blind Tiger regularly.

“I really cut my teeth in that place,” he says. “That’s where I learned how to play keyboards. I’ve been playing there since ’97. I’ve gone through a lot of things in that place, and it means a lot to me. I’m looking forward to playing there again. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there.”

In recent years, McCracken has played at the Blind Tiger with Q-Bex, a version of the band Hobex which includes acclaimed drummer Jeff Sipe.

McCracken did a stint in Hobex about 10 years ago, and he played in a metal band called Perpetual Iniquity in Greensboro as a teenager in the late 1980s. But his musical ambitions go all the way back to his early childhood in the 1970s.

“Playing music for a living was seriously a dream I had when I was, like, 3,” McCracken says. “You know how Facebook reunites people so much? I reunited with somebody who was my friend until I was 5. He was like, ‘Wow, you’re playing music for a living.’ He said it wasn’t surprising at all because all I talked about back then was how I wanted to do it.”

. . .    . . .    . . .

Read the full article at gotriad.news-record.com

Tara Nevins also interviewed for the Blind Tiger show. She spoke with Laura Graff from the Winston-Salem Journal. Here is a bit of the article:

Photo by Lewis Tezak Jr

Donna the Buffalo’s music belongs on the festival circuit — it’s an engaging mix of roots, bluegrass, reggae, country and New Orleans-inspired zydeco. . .

. . .     . . .    . . .

“We just come from a base of traditional music,” said Tara Nevins, one of the band’s original members. Nevins formed the band with Jeb Puryear, and both play old-time fiddle.

“Over the years of playing fiddle music, we discovered other traditional music,” Nevins said. “We don’t do it on purpose, it’s just that we have a lot of music that we’ve been involved in over the years and that we love.”

Nevins, who started out playing the fiddle, bought an accordion about 20 years ago.

“That gave us a Louisiana flavor to our songs,” she said. “We just have a lot of musical influences, because of some of the different instruments we play, those flavors come out in our music.”

. . .    . . .    . . .

Nevins just finished work on a solo album, “Wood and Stone,” which will be released on Sugar Hill in April.”Wood and Stone” is her second solo album. The last, “Mule to Ride,” showcased the fiddle and was, Nevins said, more “old-time bluegrass.” This new album, she said, showcases her songwriting.

“I’ve written pretty much everything on the record,” Nevins said. “It’s not all about the fiddle the way the first one was.”

She said the band is planning to return to the studio in late February to work on a new album.

“It’s going to be a collaboration,” Nevins said. “We’re inviting other artists that we’ve played at with festivals over the years — artists we admire.”

Read the full article at www2.journalnow.com

On Saturday, the band jumps on the bus over to Asheville to play the Orange Peel. The Mountain Xpress wrote a nice little blurb about the show and some of DtB’s Asheville connections:

Kyle Spark. Photo by Lewis Tezak Jr.

For years, upstate N.Y.-based, self-desribed “Cajun/ zydeco, rock, folk, reggae and country” band Donna the Buffalo has long had an Asheville connection through it’s bassist. First it was Bill Reynolds (Band of Horses) then Jay Sanders (Acoustic Syndicate). Now DTB has Massachusetts bassist Kyle Spark but the group (who has toured for 21 years) still makes its semi-annual trek South (DTB is likely to pop up at regional warm-weather festivals). . .

Read the original post at: mountainx.com

Great weekend in store. We hope to see lots of the Herd around for these SouthEast shows!



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Donna the Buffalo is bringing the Herd back to Nashville with two performances! DtB plays Music City Roots on Jan 26th and Mercy Lounge with The Roy Jay Band on Thursday, January 27th, 2011. The Music City Roots Lineup for January 26th includes Catie CurtisThe CleverlysThe Black LilliesDonna The BuffaloRayland Baxter, with Host: Jim Lauderdale.

DtB is also excited to announce are going to be spending more time in Nashville working on a new Donna the Buffalo album starting in late February!  Tara Nevins’ solo album is is due out this April! More details below.

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Photo by Jim Gavenus

Show Details at a Glance:
Music City Roots
Wednesday, Jan 26, 2011
Loveless Barn

8400 Tennessee 100
Nashville, TN 37221 
– All Ages Show –

$10, Doors open at 6:00PM. Seating is first come, first served.
-AND–
Donna The Buffalo & The Roy Jay Band
Mercy Lounge
Thursday, January 27, 2011
doors 8pm, $15, 18+
(615) 251-3020
1 Cannery Row
Nashville, TN 37203
www.mercylounge.com
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Here’s a Nice video of DtB on Music City Roots in 2009:


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Donna the Buffalo is excited to announce that they are heading in to the studio this February in Nashville for their next album to be produced by Sugar Hill Records.

DtB had successful 2008 release of “Silverlined“, which rose to #8 on the Americana Music Chart and also marked their 20th year as a band.

In an interview with Tad Dickens(Roanoke Times reporter), Nevins described the album:

Donna is preparing to record a new album in the next couple of months. It will be the band’s “greatest guests record,” Nevins said. The idea sprang from the band’s annual closing set at the festival it helped create, Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance, held in Trumansburg, N.Y. The band likes to bring up whatever musicians are still around by the time the festival is winding down.

“We’ve formed so many great relationships like that over the years, and we also have our musicians that we’ve always loved to play with or collaborate with but haven’t yet,” said Nevins.

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Other exciting news is that multi-instrumentalist and DtB’s co-band leader, Tara Nevins, has a new album set for an April release by Sugar Hill Records.

Produced in Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock by 2 time Grammy award-winner Larry Campbell who also be performs on the album.  Nevins penned 90% of the material and sings on all of the songs.

In a recent interview with Scott Preston (Cincy Groove) Nevins describes the players on the album:

The nucleus of the band was Larry Campbell, Byron Issacs, who plays bass in Levon’s band, Justin Glip who is the engineer at the studio played drums on quite a few tracks. I was also very fortunate to get to have Levon Helm play drums on 2 songs. I overdubbed some fiddle, accordion, tambourine, and Larry played pedal steel, mandolin, banjo, electric guitar, bass. We also had Teresa Williams and Amy Helm (Levon’s daughter) do some vocals, they both also sing in Levon’s band. Allison Moore came in to sing on a song as well. I played in an all female string band, called The Heartbeats. So I had those gals come in and we ripped out a couple tunes.

Check out this fan video from Shakori Hills performing one of her new songs, Snowbird.

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Photo by Jim Gavenus

You may notice some people filming the Feb 11th Donna the Buffalo show at Water Street Music Hall in Rochester, NY. The band is being included in an exciting project called JAMerica which includes a book as well as a documentary film chronicling the emergence, rise, future, etc. of the jam band and festival scene.

The book portion will be written by Peter Conners (www.peterconners.com) who is author of Growing Up Dead: The Hallucinated Confessions of a Teenage Deadhead (Da Capo Press, 2009) and White Hand Society: The Psychedelic Partnership of Timothy Leary & Allen Ginsberg (City Lights, 2010). JAMerica will be published by Da Capo Press in fall 2013.

Conners is also working with filmmaker Denver Miller (www.denvermillerfilms.com) to turn JAMerica into a documentary film featuring interviews and live footage from festivals and shows. In addition to interviewing the band and filming the Feb 11th show, Conners and Miller will be conducting some spontaneous interviews with audience members at the show. This is your chance to share your love of DTB with the world!

Special thanks to David Gans for introducing us to Peter and Denver!

Here’s a video of DTB from the last time they played Water Street:


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Below are excerpts from a  fantastic interview with Donna the Buffalo’s Tara Nevins by Cincy Groove’s Scott Preston. Scott also recently started the new website JambandNews.com. Click on the photo to read the full article.

Interview with Tara Nevins from Donna The Buffalo

tara nevins, donna the buffalo

Interview and Photos by Scott Preston.

READ THE ORIGINAL POST in Cincy Groove, JamBandNews, and Columbus Groove

To begin to understand Tara’s passion for music, one must first look to the Old-time musical community where Tara has spent over 20 years playing the fiddle. But these days her love of Zydeco is equally as influential. Beyond her time with Donna The Buffalo, Tara spent almost 10 years playing with the all-female Cajun/Old-time band, The Heartbeats, and plans to release a new solo record in April of 2011 for Sugar Hill.

Cincy Groove: I understand you have a new solo record coming out, how is it coming along?

Tara Nevins: We are finished recording it and its being mixed right now. It’s coming out on Sugar Hill Records with a release date of April of 2011. I have been very fortunate to get to work with Larry Campbell on the record. Larry plays in Levon Helm’s band and he also produced both of Levon’s records, Electric Dirt and Dirt Farmer, both of which won Grammy’s. As if that wasn’t enough he also played in Bob Dylan’s touring band for 8 years. Right now he also is producing a record for Hot Tuna, I just feel very fortunate to get to work with him.

tara nevins, donna the buffaloCincy Groove: How would you describe the sound of your new record?

Tara Nevins: Its very organic, we recorded it up in Levon Helm’s studio in Woodstock. I would say its somewhere between traditional/Americana and Donna the Buffalo. I wrote all the songs myself except for one Van Morrison cover. Last time I did a solo record, 10 years ago, I had other people doing all the singing. But this time around I am doing the singing.

Cincy Groove: Who did you have playing on the new record?

Tara Nevins: The nucleus of the band was Larry Campbell, Byron Issacs, who plays bass in Levon’s band, Justin Glip who is the engineer at the studio played drums on quite a few tracks. I was also very fortunate to get to have Levon Helm play drums on 2 songs. I overdubbed some fiddle, accordion, tambourine, and Larry played pedal steel, mandolin, banjo, electric guitar, bass. We also had Teresa Williams and Amy Helm (Levon’s daughter) do some vocals, they both also sing in Levon’s band. Allison Moore came in to sing on a song as well. I played in an all female string band, called The Heartbeats. So I had those gals come in and we ripped out a couple tunes.

Cincy Groove: Are there any plans for a new Donna The Buffalo record?

Tara Nevins: We are planning to record sometime in February 2011, I was just on the phone with Jeb talking about that. We are definitely due for a new record. We may record it down in Nashville.

Find out about DtB’s involvement with The GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance by clicking to the original post here.

tara nevins, donna the buffalo

Cincy Groove: How do you feel about how the internet has changed the current music business model?

Tara Nevins: There are pros and cons. I think the big difference is that now there is more of a connection between the musicians and their fans. Before the internet, you would wait for the record to come out, you would see a few articles in magazines like Rolling Stone or maybe a review in your local paper. That was really it for your connection to the music. It was a mentality of its us and them. Now not only do you get a cd, but you can hear a few songs online before the release. The fans can also goto the band’s Myspace, Facebook and Twitter pages to see whats new with the band. There isn’t such a barrier between the fans and the musician like there was before the internet. People also get to discover music that they might not have heard otherwise. On the negative side, the computer can be a little impersonal and you can waste a lot of time on it (laughing). Bands just don’t sell records like they use to, since people can now get music for free. The art form is still in transition. Donna The Buffalo is lucky in that we sell a lot of records at shows.

READ MORE AT THE ORIGINAL POST.

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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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DtB plays the Edinboro Art and Music Festival tonight near Erie, PA. They take the stage at 10:30pm. Here is what the Erie Times has to say:

Buffalo hunt: Look no further, Donna’s in Edinboro tonight

Preview by Dave Richards
Staff writer, Erie Times

….

Tonight’s gig affords Donna fans and those who will be, once they hear the group, a chance to enjoy them up close. The intimate setting makes crystal-clear the camaraderie between Nevins and Puryear, who played old-time fiddle music before they founded Donna the Buffalo more than 20 years ago.

Festival director Fred Parker appreciates them coming back; they also headlined in 2009. It didn’t take much to coax them; he’s a longtime friend of the band and a fellow musician.

“Tara and Jeb are friends of mine, and it’s nice to have them kicking off the festival,” Parker said. “I think it gives us a real nice headliner and a shot in the arm. I know they like the event.”

Parker spent time with Nevins and Puryear, telling Puryear, “I know it’s kind of small place, but what do you think?’ And he said, ‘We loved it, and we had a real good time.'”

Fans literally climbed the tables in 2009. Odds are, they’ll do it again, though even band members don’t know which songs they’ll play until they get on stage. They never bother with a set list.

“That’s one of the things about us,” Nevins said. “We get up onstage and play whatever we feel like playing. We just kind of fly by the seat of our pants. Every time we try to make a set list, we never stick to it.”

They stick to a pattern, though, 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.”

Donna the Buffalo arrives with a new band member, bassist Kyle Spark, who joined at the end of March. He had a lot to learn, considering Donna’s rich songwriting history. Nevins said they took it slow.

“He gets the records, and we give him a list of the things we normally play and start with that,” Nevins said. “You gotta give a guy a fighting chance. For a few shows, we stick to those for his sake. Then we’ll throw a new one onstage and see how it goes.”

So far, she’s like the chemistry.

Mixing in new players keeps the band fresh; Puryear and Nevins are the only two constants. Playing other types of gigs helps, too. In 2009, Nevins joined former Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann’s BK 3 on the road.

“The call came in, and it was kind of out of the blue,” Nevins said. “I just felt, ‘Well, I’m up for something different. A challenge. Step out of my box a little bit.’ I did it, and it was completely awesome. I had a wonderful time, and the playing was fantastic. I’d love to do it again.”

Nevins said Donna may record again with Jim Lauderdale, who joined them for a set at Merlefest. They haven’t started a follow-up to 2009’s well-received “Silverlined,” which includes guest spots from Bela Fleck, Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo, and Levon Helms’ daughter Amy.

“Looking back, I think it was a great record. It got all the way up to No. 8 on the Americana charts,” Nevins said.

“We did our very first music video for the song ‘Locket and Key,’ and that got a lot of airplay. People still hear it in department stores and restaurants and grocery stores. It was one of the first times one of our songs traveled a little bit further.

“Yeah, I have a good attachment to that record.”

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