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Posts Tagged ‘GrassRoots festival’

header-grfFinger Lakes GrassRoots Festival Lineup 2013 announced!!

July 18-21, 2013 Trumansburg Fairgrounds, Trumansburg, NY

front-leftnav-bottomDonna the Buffalo, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Festival au Désert – Caravan for Peace (Feat. Mamadou Kelly, Tartit, Imharhan), Rusted Root, Rubblebucket, John Brown’s Body, Spam Allstar, Keith Frank & the Soileau Zydeco Band, Chatham County Line, The Sim Redmond , Driftwood, Suénalo, The Duhks, Jim Lauderdale, Preston Frank & his Zydeco Family Band, The Horse Flies, Keith Secola & the Wild Band of Indians, The Believers, Kevin Kinsella, Jennie Lowe Stearns, The Mad Tea, Nery Arevalo, The Double E, Bubba George Stringband and lots more

For the full lineup, please visit: http://www.grassrootsfest.org/festival/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.display&page_id=27

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Donna the Buffalo Set To Unveil First Studio Album in Five Years,
Tonight, Tomorrow and Yesterday, On June 18
More energized and focused than ever before in their near 25-year career, roots-music troubadours Donna the Buffalo will debut their first studio album in five years, Tonight, Tomorrow and Yesterday, on June 18 via Sugar Hill Records.
The follow up to 2008’s acclaimed Silverlined, which reached the Top 10 on the Americana charts, Tonight, Tomorrow and Yesterday—the group’s 10th studio album—proves the band as a consistent steward of Americana music, their signature sound—traditional mountain music infused with elements of Cajun, rock, folk, reggae and country—an eclectic and extraordinary melting pot of such.
In creating the new album, founding members and songwriter-vocalists Jeb Puryear (vocals, guitar) and Tara Nevins (vocals, guitar, fiddle, accordion, scrubboard)—joined by band members David McCracken (Hammond organ, clavinet), Kyle Spark (bass) and Mark Raudabaugh (drums)—convened in a rustic church in Enfield, New York, along with co-producer and fellow upstate New Yorker, Robert Hunter (Branford Marsalis). The building overflowed with vibe, and the music poured out as the group recorded take after live take to old-school analog tape, with as few overdubs as possible. What resulted are the 14 organic and authentic tracks that make up Tonight, Tomorrow and Yesterday.
“We tried to do the record and keep in tact the things people love about us,” says Puryear. “We’re really excited to start sharing Tonight, Tomorrow and Yesterday,” adds Nevins, “because making this record was a very personal process that was also a lot of fun.”
The album will be worked at Americana and AAA radio this spring and summer, with the emphasis track being “I See How You Are,” a tune penned by Nevins. In addition, the band will be touring heavily throughout the remainder of the year to promote Tonight, Tomorrow and Yesterday. Festival dates include MerleFest, The Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance, Nashville’s Dancin’ In the District, Strangecreek Music Festival, Blue Ridge BBQ and Music Festival, The Great Blue Heron Festival, Red Ants Pants Festival, Targhee Bluegrass Fest, Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival and MagnoliaFest, among many others. The most up-to-date touring information can be found here.
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Track listing for Tonight, Tomorrow and Yesterday:
1. All Aboard
2. Don’t Know What We’ve Got
3. Working On That
4. I Love My Tribe
5. Tonight, Tomorrow and Yesterday
6. One Day At A Time
7. Love Time
8. No Reason Why
9. I See How You Are
10. I Can Fly
11. Ms. Parsley
12. Why You Wanna Leave Me
13. Real Love
14. Spinning World
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About Donna the Buffalo

Closing in on the quarter-century mark, Donna the Buffalo has developed one of most respected ‘brands’ in the world of touring roots acts, along with a well-deserved reputation for crafting social narratives and danceable grooves without equal. With nine studio albums under their belt, the band has been praised as having “earned a reputation as one of the most respected, eclectic and hardest-working acts today” (Encore).

Led by founding members and songwriter-vocalists Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins, Donna the Buffalo marries musical trailblazing and tradition, their music running the gamut of what is defined as “roots music.” Throughout it’s career the band has traveled millions of miles and spent nearly a quarter of a century performing at the country’s most prestigious festivals and clubs.

Their fervent fan base, nicknamed The Herd, follows the band with zeal and has created a unique and supportive community online and at DTB shows across the nation. As an extension of this community and the band’s own dedication to live roots music, Donna the Buffalo started its own annual event—The Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance—20 years ago in upstate New York, which draws more than 15,000 people every year, and have since added to the GrassRoots festival family with Shakori Hills in NC and the Virginia Key GrassRoots Festival in Florida. On June 18, 2013, the band will release its 10th studio album, Tonight, Tomorrow and Yesterday, via Sugar Hill Records.

www.donnathebuffalo.com

Cover Photograph by Matthew Coburn Photography: http://www.weshotyou.com/

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Living the Festival Dream: One GrassRoots Festival Per Season
To every season, there is a GrassRoots Festival…

2013 GrassRoots Festival Dates:
Feb 21-24 –Virginia Key GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance – Miami, FL
April 18-21 – Shakori Hills Spring GrassRoots Fest– Pittsboro, NC
July 18-21 – Finger Lakes GrassRoots Fest – Trumansburg, NY
October 10-13 – Shakori Hills Fall GrassRoots Fest – Pittsboro, NC

It begins…

FingerLakesheader-grfAbout 22 years ago, Ithaca-based band Donna the Buffalo and some of their friends saw a void in their community.  AIDS was a new and deadly disease and people were uneducated about it and how to prevent it.  As artists do, they decided to use their art to spread the word and make a difference – they created a festival. In the summer of 1991, The Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival was held on the fairgrounds on the edge of the small town of Trumansburg, NY.  Folks danced, listened to great music, created and witnessed art, met up with old friends, found new ones, and shared ideas.  The festival was a hit, and the profits went to AIDSwork of Tompkins County to help spread the word about the terrible, yet preventable, disease.

Since then, the not-for-profit festival in NY has grown continuously and has given funding to socially and environmentally responsible organizations including: Doctors Without Borders,  Musicians For World Harmony, Ithaca Free Clinic, Ithaca Ballet, Hospicare of Tompkins County, Boy Scouts Of America, LACS Katrina Relief Group and more.  Not just another music festival, GrassRoots became synonymous with not only being the region’s premiere music event but a community that cares about each other and the world around them and are passionate about music and culture in a very human way.

The acts on the bill have not always been pop-darlings or the coolest “hit” of the year, they are artists with a conscience, who have something to give the audience that lasts longer than the moment in which songs are heard.  Featured genres include: World, Roots Rock, Americana, Bluegrass, Latin, Old-time, Zydeco, Cajun, Blues, Folk, Country, Hip Hop and Jazz.  World music heroes like Africa’s Hugh Massekela, Oliver Mtukudzi, Seun Kuti (accompanied by his father Fela’s band Egypt 80), and Tinariwen; Reggae pioneers like Burning Spear and Toots & The Maytals; Hip Hop social activists Arrested Development; Folk and Country greats Merle Haggard, Lucinda Williams, and Old Crow Medicine Show; Latin artists Maraca Y Otra Vision and Sierra Maestra, Native Americans Keith Secola and Deer Clan Singers; and others The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Ani DiFranco and Rickie Lee Jones all have graced the GrassRoots Festival stages. Artists that make a difference, that educate and feed the soul.

The journey continues…

shakorihdrlogo1In 2003 a group of organizers from the New York festival, including GrassRoots Festival Organization founder Jordan Puryear, decided that they had such a great thing going, they should share it with as many people as possible.  With a vision for a GrassRoots for every season the organization moved south to central North Carolina.  The region is well known for its music, from its history of Old-time, Bluegrass, and Folk music to a thriving indie college scene; here was a perfect atmosphere in which to create another GrassRoots Festival.  They discovered a 75-acre old farmstead outside of Chapel Hill and on Earth Day weekend of April 2003, the Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance was born.  Four days of music, dance and art in a green, idyllic setting.

The Spring and Fall Shakori Hills GrassRoots festivals, from their inception, reached out and included local non-profit and advocacy groups and helped present their missions to audiences.  Shakori Hills also presents a safe and friendly place that is very welcoming to families.  Sara Waters, festival co-coordinator shares, “The kids’ area is outstanding, with activities from crafts to learning how to play instruments, kid-focused bands, and storytelling, to making masks and painting umbrellas for peace, there’s even a festival-wide game of capture the flag and a parade consisting of giant, ornate puppets and any number of percussion instruments.”

There are four stages, including two in large outdoor fields, a more intimate cabaret tent and a large, 10,000 square foot dance tent.  Some of the artists who have performed at Shakori Hills include: Carolina Chocolate Drops, The Avett Brothers, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Oliver Mtukudzi, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Sam Bush, Rusted Root, Nickel Creek, Richie Havens, Ralph Stanley, Squirrel Nut Zippers and Nnenna Freelon.

As with the New York festival, there is a Healing Arts area with Yoga, Tai-chi, massage and  movement workshops.  At Shakori Hills there is also a “Sustainability Fair” where area pioneers in Earth friendly technologies and practices come to share and present their ideas. “Attendees can camp out and stay for all four days or just come in for an afternoon.  Everyone finds something here that they are interested in. They may come for a favorite band and find they have a new love of  Zydeco dancing or an interest in gardening or biodiesel,” Waters recounts.

A new adventure…

miami-logo-final-4With their newest motto (taken from a fortune cookie) at heart– “If at first you succeed, try something harder.” –the organizers packed up and moved south yet again.  Historic Virginia Key Beach Park in Miami, Florida is now the home to the third, and winter season, Virginia Key GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance.  When asked about what was behind the creation of the southern-most GrassRoots Festival, Puryear says, “Well, it is a dream come true!  Creating four seasons of GrassRoots Festivals was an idea inspired by the turn of the century mark in 2000 and us wanting to do something really great.”

Like it’s big sisters, the Virginia Key GrassRoots Festival has adapted to the local culture, celebrating it and learning from it.  The festival organization has spent time not only planning a festival, but becoming familiar with the local community, finding out what the festival can bring to the table that might be missing or underestimated locally.  The GrassRoots festivals not only add to their surroundings, but they strive to make it so the event becomes a place for the local community to celebrate itself, unite in understanding as well as in fun.

The first Virginia Key GrassRoots Festival featured among others: Chaka Khan, Del McCoury, Arrested Development, Suenalo, Locos Por Juana, Keith Frank & His Soileau Zydeco Band, Jahfe and Donna The Buffalo.

Why this dream and what it means…

The GrassRoots festivals uphold their belief in education as much as fun, in sharing as much as taking a break from the everyday world.  Waters comments on the overall dream: “The idea is to have a wonderful experience and then take that out into the world, continue what you have learned and help others to learn it as well.”   Puryear speaks about what happens in the Dance Tent of all four festivals–how there, “the artists and the audience are on the same level, sharing in something very simple yet quite profound, the movement of the body and the communication music portrays without words.  The people, both artist and audience, sharing the music, breathing the same air, dancing on the same floor, kicking up some dust, become one.”

Written by Sara Waters.

2013 GrassRoots Festival Dates:
Feb 21-24 –Virginia Key GrassRoots Festival of Music & D ance – Miami, FL
April 18-21 – Shakori Hills Spring GrassRoots Fest Pittsboro, NC
July 18-21 – Finger Lakes GrassRoots Fest – Trumansburg, NY
October 10-13 – Shakori Hills Fall GrassRoots Fest – Pittsboro, NC

GrassRoots festival websites:
http://www.grassrootsfest.org
http://www.shakorihillsgrassroots.org
http://www.virginiakeygrassroots.org

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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.

 

miami-logo-final-4

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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World-Renown GrassRoots Music Festival Poised to Take Centerstage at the Historic Miami Virginia Key Beach

Scheduled to perform: Chaka Khan, Del McCoury, Arrested Development, Immortal Technique, Beausoleil, Keith Secola & His Wild Band of Indians, Locos Por Juana, The Lee Boys, Donna The Buffalo, Jahfe, & more…

In the spirit of family, cultural celebration and fun, The Historic Virginia Key Beach Park will serve as home to the world-renown Virginia Key GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance, February 9 – 12, 2012.

The Festival organizers are planning to fill a bio diesel bus in North Carolina to travel down to the festival. Here’s what they say about it:

Hey folks! We’re planning on renting out a 55 passenger bio diesel bus for an epic road trip from the Shakori Hills Festival location in triangle area NC down to the Florida Keys for the first annual Virginia Key GrassRoots Festival. http://virginiakeygrassroots.org/

The bus leaves Wednesday, Feb 8th and returns Sunday, Feb 12th after the music.

The Tour Bus is super comfortable with DVD and bathroom, and runs on locally made bio fuels.  We’ll drive 1600 miles round trip (14 hours each way), starting out in the night so we’ll wake up at the beach! $120 per person covers fuel and drivers, and saves you festival overnight parking costs of $50.00. Plus, you can bring your camping gear with you!

NOTE: We need 55 people to sign up in order to fill the bio bus. Email grassrootsbiobus@gmail.com or Call Iris @ (919) 542 0244 for more info or to sign up.  For more info click here.

The four-day event will showcase some of the world’s most amazing and respected talents from over 50 performing groups whose genres include: roots rock, reggae, hip-hop, Latin, funk, Cajun, bluegrass, African, Kompa, world beat and zydeco. Grammy® Award winning performers Chaka Khan, The Del McCoury Band and Arrested Development will headline the inaugural festival along with the legendary ska/reggae band Fishbone, Donna the Buffalo, BeauSoleil avec Micheal Doucet and several South Florida local favorites Locos Por Juana, Suenalo and ArtOfficial.

To learn more about The Virginia Key GrassRoots Festival, performers, or to purchase tickets please contact Emma Hewitt at (786) 332-4630 or visit us at http://www.virginiakeygrassroots.org.

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Global Music Festival Debuts in Miami with Headliners
Chaka Khan, Arrested Development, and Del McCoury


Family-Friendly Virginia Key GrassRoots Festival February 9th-12th, 2012
Welcomes Community Participation

The world-renowned GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance is coming to The Historic Virginia Key Beach Park in Miami on February 9th-12th, 2012. Founded in upstate New York in 1991, the non-profit festival showcases top tier world and roots music performers from a wide variety of genres; Latin, Reggae, Hip-Hop, Americana, Funk, Cajun, Bluegrass, Indie Rock, African, Kompa, World Beat, and Jam. International and Grammy Award winning artists will perform alongside some of Florida’s premier bands – Chaka Khan, Del McCoury, and Arrested Development.

Throughout the four-day, family-friendly event, a Kid’s Village will offer interactive activities. Local artisans and visiting craftspeople will display and sell their work. In addition, celebrity dance instructors will provide ongoing group instruction and festival performers will conduct daily music and instrumental workshops. Those interested in wellness will find movement classes, flow workshops, massage and more in The Healing Arts Area.

The festival welcomes local residents and out of town visitors. The on-site campgrounds, just a short walk from the beach, are open to all festival attendees for a reasonable fee. Space is for tents and vehicle camping. Day Tickets, Discounted 4-Day Passes, and Special Packages are available by phone (786) 332-4630, online www.virginiakeygrassroots.org, and at the gate.

The Virginia Key GrassRoots Festival’s mission is to promote community engagement through music and arts education, while supporting environmental sustainability, and social justice. To this end, GrassRoots invites local non-profit groups to set up booths in the Community Advocacy Area. For more information please contact Emma Hewitt at emma@grassrootsfest.org or (786) 332-4630.

GrassRoots is seeking volunteers to help in all areas of the festival, from the Street Team to Hospitality Kitchen. In trade for hours worked, Volunteers are rewarded free festival passes. For more information visit http://virginiakeygrassroots.com/volunteer

Festival Line-up:

Arrested Development, ArtOfficial, Beausoleil Avec Michael Doucet, Big Cosmo, The Del McCoury Band, Donna the Buffalo, Driftwood, Fishbone, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Greg Humphreys, Jim Lauderdale, Keith Frank & the Soileau Zydeco Band, Keith Secola & Wild Band of Indians, The Lee Boys, Locos Por Juana, Mixed Culture, Preston Frank, Revelation Mizik, Roy Jay Band, Rubblebucket, Sim Redmond Band, Suenalo, Thousands of One, Toubab Krewe, Willie Watson & the Evil City String Band

Visit the website for additions that have been added to the lineup

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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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Positive Friction: A Q&A with Jeb Puryear of Donna the Buffalo
By Geoff Gehman

This material first appeared on the web-site of the Sellersville Theater 1894 at www.st94.com.

DtB photo by Jim Gevenus

Donna the Buffalo is dedicated to groovy grooves. The band’s five members specialize in upbeat idioms—calypso, zydeco, old-time mountain fiddle—and upbeat lyrics about the state of unions and Unions. They promote virtues—loyalty, charity, curiosity—as founding hosts of two grass-roots cultural festivals—a summer extravaganza on their home turf of Trumansburg, N.Y., and a spring/fall lollapalooza in Silk Hope, N.C. They have a phenomenal following known as The Herd, whose supporters raise money for healthy causes while dancing until the bison roost.

DtB, which plays Sellersville on Oct. 28, is led by guitarist Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins (fiddle/accordion/scrubboard), who sing lead on songs they write independently. In a recent phone interview Puryear discussed the ups and downs of everything from not having a set list to a Caribbean cruise that was a little too free at sea.

Jeb Puryear. photo by Jim Gavenus

Q: I hear you don’t sleep much during the GrassRoots Festival up in
Trumansburg. What do you get–eight hours in four days?

A: That may be generous [laughs].

Q: Describe a day in the life of Jeb Puryear during last summer’s festival.

A: Well, I usually start the whole festival off by playing in Bubba George, an old-time string band I was in when I was a kid. And then I played in Donna and after that I went and saw Merle Haggard and then I did a set with Keith Frank and then the Believers wanted me to play bass on their set—and they had two sets. For some reason I stayed up all night every night this year. We’re much more invested than many festival organizers. But, then, it’s very exciting to be able to play all that music with so many different folks. With a job like that, you’d just want to be worked to
death.

Q: Is there anything you miss from the festival’s bygone days?

A: I miss the stress [laughs]. Actually, that’s sort of a joke. A lot of people don’t realize that we had absolutely no money when we decided to start a festival. We borrowed $5,000 from a friend of ours and we basically talked the whole thing up. It was touch-and-go at the beginning. Most of the people who do that sort of thing have some kind of money [laughs]. It was really brave and bold and the right thing to do. In the early years I was involved in the day-to-day activities of the office. Today, the office staff absorbs whatever stress there is. They take care of the thing better than we ever did.

Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins. Photo by John D Kurc

Q: You and Tara met through the old-time fiddle circuit. What was the first clue that you and she could work well together.

A: She was about the first person we met who played songs that sounded like songs you might hear on the radio. Working with her, we learned how to play more song-based music than tune based. She was booked into this vegetarian restaurant and we wound up getting booked there. We were lucky enough that the whole thing worked. People danced to the fast stuff and the slow stuff right from the start. I don’t know why people like to move while we’re playing. It might be because we’re moving all the time.

Q: What are some essential differences between you and Tara as songwriters.

A: I tend to be a little more wordy. She tends to have a little more melody. Over our history I’ve probably been more pointedly political. Our songwriting is different the same way men and women are different: you have to respect the differences. It’s a pretty cool thing to get those male-female perspectives one after the other.

Q: Can you point to a recent band breakthrough, a significant point of departure when you really hit your stride?

A: Last year me and Tara started doing duet shows. Me and her have been playing music for a really long time and because we’ve been at it for so long we can change tempos and styles and it always stays together. The rest of the people in the band saw those shows and decided that the five of us should be as tight, as all together, as the two of us. Since then we’ve really been having a lot more fun.

Q: What kind of democracy is Donna the Buffalo? For example, who gets to choose the set lists?

A: We have a very distorted democracy [laughs]. As far as set lists go, we don’t ever write one. When my brother Jordon was in the group he used to write set lists and they were pretty good. When he left, we started writing set lists and they weren’t very good [laughs]. Now either one of us [Puryear or Nevins] will start playing a song and we try to keep it moving best we can. One good thing about not having a set list is that at least one person in the band feels like playing the song we’re playing. Because we don’t do a set list, sometimes we’ll forget about a song for a number of months. [Keyboardist] Dave [McCracken] has recently been trying to get us to do the older songs more often. I was never really big on change throughout my whole life. But now I’m slowly coming around to realizing it’s not only necessary but inevitable. If you’re going to change, you might as well swivel around and make the change a good one.

Q: I’m always curious about the afterlife of songs—about their zigzag path after you introduce them to the world. Is there one of your tunes that has had a rich side career at weddings, funerals or some other rite of passage?

A: Well, some people propose onstage during our shows; that’s kind of exciting. And we once played at a very personal engagement. Our friend George wanted to propose to his girlfriend Althea, so we showed up nonchalantly and we started playing while he got down on his knees. The song was “This Goes”: the complete line is “This goes to someone I love.” That was pretty cool.

Tara Nevins. Photo by Matt Dunmore

Q: The Herd is the band’s power base, a fellow charitable institution. What is something about The Herd that most non-members don’t know?

A: The main thing I like to say about The Herd is that you don’t have to do anything to be a member. You just have to like a song. Actually, I don’t know if you have to go that far. The herd is a very amorphous thing. They’ve done a lot of good things. One time we all went down to some resort in Key West to do a Herd fundraiser. They set up a stage on the lawn by the beach and we played there for a week. And someone added up all the money that got spent and it was a lot of money. And I thought we directed that a little bit.

Q: What were the highlights of your Caribbean cruise with The Herd?

A: Actually, we’ve done two cruises. The first one wasn’t a real joke but it was a  lark. You know, there’s a small part of everyone who would like to go on a cruise but not be stuck on the ship. We had like 850 people on this boat, and they were our people. And the feeling was: Okay, well, we can all be stuck together. We did a second cruise a few years later. In the middle we went to St. John and the federales came and expelled maybe 10 people for smoking marijuana. It was a bit of an entrapment because if you’re out in the Caribbean and you’re playing Bob Marley on the deck, what are these poor people to do? But they were doing it blatantly and the security guy got personally offended. So we’re playing in the lounge that night and we’re wondering: Are we supposed to have fun now? I mean, all our friends just got thrown off the boat. It’s like that first moment after someone dies and you’re supposed to carry on with your life and you’re not sure how. And our old drummer Tom [Gilbert]—who is a very funny guy—says: “Man, I’ve felt more awkward vibes watching porno with my parents” [laughs].

Q: What’s up next? A boxed set of rarities? A carnival tent tour? Would you like to do what the White Stripes did: make a documentary about playing cafes, parking lots and other pick-up places?

A: I would like to do all those things. A carnival tent tour we talked about. A boxed set of rarities would be great. Actually, we’re planning a record featuring our greatest guests, including some of the people we’ve invited to play songs with us at the end of grass-roots festivals. And I would love to play very small towns all over New York state, towns with just a few houses and a bar. A tiny town tour—that would be cool.

Q: You know, the Moody Blues once considered buying an English village to headquarter their many operations. Have you guys ever been tempted to make a smaller communal real-estate transaction?

A: No–our way of hippiedom is just post-commune. Utopianism is a beautiful subject but if you don’t take it as a challenge, the endless meetings and shared everything will just drive you insane. Especially when you’re in a band. The whole notion of equality in society is interesting but not very realistic. It just kind of doesn’t happen. If you put any five kids together in a room, one of them will become the leader of the others, and nobody thinks that’s weird. That’s not to say that the people who are smart and strong should ruthlessly take advantage of everybody else. There’s all this fine-line interplay about being a communist or a capitalist, a Republican or a Democrat, when it’s pretty much the same subject. People are just fishing around to find the best way to do things.


Fact File: Donna the Buffalo

o The band’s name is a funkier version of the original proposed name Dawn of the Buffalo.

o Annual attendance at its Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance in Trumansburg, N.Y., has increased from nearly 1,500 to more than 15,000 over 19 years.

o Keyboardist Dave McCracken once toured with zydeco star C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band.

o In 2005, Fiddler Tara Nevins prepared a documentary on Carlton Frank, the late, great Creole fiddler.

o DtB songs have been licensed for the cartoon Living Evil, created by Yanni Osmond and Spanky the Woman Tamer.

[Find out more information about DtB’s upcoming show at the Sellerville Theatre on Oct 28th]

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Super pumped about Shakori Hills Fest being right around the corner! It’s October 7-10th in Silk Hope North Carolina.

You never know what will happen at Shakori  as the magic sets in… I’ve seen plenty of rainbows &  blue skies (as well as a few muddy dancing rainstorms…) I’ve seen one of the longest shooting stars ever that lasted at least a minute and flew over the mainstage as Donna the Buffalo was playing on one of the famous Sunday night sets… and I’ve seen some of the best musical collaborations EVER on stage! Everything goes and the festival is always amazing!

On the lineup for this fall are Donna the Buffalo, Preston Frank, Toubab Krewe, Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, Snake Oil Medicine Show,Woody PinesAmelia’s Mechanics, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Lizzy Ross Band, Mandolin Orange and lots more! See the complete lineup here: http://www.shakorihills.org/performers/

At every Shakori, the last set on Sunday night is always one that everyone looks forward to as host band Donna the Buffalo brings out many guests from other bands that have played all weekend. Last spring one of the biggest hits was when  John Paul Jones had randomly appeared at Shakori because his overseas flight to England was delayed from the volcanic ashes that were in the air from the eruption in Iceland. He sat in with Donna the Buffalo and played several songs on bass, keys, and mandolin. Here is a great video of one of them:

Check out this very in depth and personal interview that Paul Kerr from Homegrown Music Network did with DtB’s Tara Nevins on the DtB bus at the festival just before that Sunday night set. At the point of the interview, Tara did not know that John Paul Jones was there again and ready to play:

HGMN: How did [Led Zeppelin bassist] John Paul Jones end up coming to Shakori Hills?

Nevins: He really likes traditional music. He always did, and he plays the mandolin. He produced that all-girl old-time band Uncle Earl. He produced one of their records, and I play triangle on it actually. I got to work with him in the studio. He was at MerleFest a few times and was just checking everything out. Because I had played triangle and was in the studio and had met him and worked with him, I think I might have said, “Hey we’re doing a dance in the dance tent later, why don’t you come by and sit in?” And everyone wanted him to sit in, you know? But he actually showed up and my drummer almost fell off his stool.

She told me later that when she left the bus to get on stage Jeb said, “Hey, Tara, John Paul Jones is here and wants to sit in”. She said something like, “yeah right Jeb” and then he said, “No, really, turn around” and she did and there he was. Funny because she was just telling a story about him at the interview a few minutes before and had no clue about his delayed flight or that he was even at the festival at all… Well.. That’s just some of the magic that happens at Shakori Hills!

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Great review of the GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance in Trumansburg, NY posted on Jambands.com.  I have posted a few excerpts from the article below. Please do follow the link to read the full article.

The Best Festival You’ve Never Heard Of

Published: 2010/08/25
by Cris Mullen

Jambands.com

Shhh… Don’t tell anybody

Finger Lakes Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance, as it’s officially known, was established by roots rock band Donna the Buffalo as a fundraiser for AIDS research. The festival has grown over the years, now bringing in an average of 20,000 people per yearly four-day span. USA Today called Grassroots “one of the ten best outdoor festivals in the country.” But, if you don’t live in upstate New York, there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of it.

Our group of originally 7-10 buddies has grown with the festival: now thirty enthusiastic die-hards with a formidable camp setup …

We’ve been camping at the same spot for a few years now and we’ve all grown quite fond of our temporary home …

By mid afternoon the music starts cranking up. Donna the Buffalo is the main act at Grassroots, they play three sets throughout the weekend beginning on Thursday at seven. The band has gone through some line-up changes over the years, but they continue to crank out a high energy set time and time again. We caught a little bit of that and then it was off to pay homage to a true legend of outlaw country music, Merle Haggard. He’s showing his age up there but he’s still belting out his classics.

Arrested Development was next, but most of us skipped out on that to play some music of our own. There’s some real good pickers in our entourage, who have really gotten much better as the years go by, my brother Andy being one of them. A consummate player already, he learned how to play a ferocious fiddle in about a year. It’s gotten to the point where people stop by and watch us play on their way to see the paid performers. There are probably about six or seven musicians in our herd that can and do play professionally and another ten that are good enough to strum along (I’ll put myself in the latter category, and I barely make that).

Some folks checked out some late morning square dancing with the Dead Sea Squirrels. Let me tell you something, if you haven’t square danced in a while, you should. It can be a great time with the right lady by your side. (A side note here, my brother Andy may be one of five people in America still writing square dance songs … he called a square dance of his own later that night.)

Next up, the Flying Clouds. They’re a regular act at Grassroots, their high energy gospel infused funk gets the crowd going every time. Great performers, great time.

Along the same lines are the Campbell Brothers. These gents have been playing an intoxicating brand of funky soul music featuring pedal steel guitars before anyone even heard of Robert Randolph. If there’s one can’t miss band at Grassroots, this is it.

Saturday morning featured the musical stylings of John Specker and his two lovely daughters in a group known as The Speckers. It was nice sit down show with the band treating us to a thick set of old-timey fiddling.

Saturday evening is reserved for our annual Turkey in a Trashcan. My father showed it to me and my brothers years ago, we’re not sure where he got it from, but we do carry on the tradition in his memory. The recipe is simple really. Drive a stake into the ground->put a turkey on it->put a trash can over it-> line the outside of the turkey with charcoal->light a match->serve in two hours. Comes out perfect every time.

Saturday night is all about the late night dance tent. No Grassroots festival would be complete without shaking your butt to the zydeco dance party with The Franks, members of Donna the Buffalo and whoever else wants to show up and rock out. The rhythm is infectious and you really can’t help but dance and until you’re too tired to do it anymore. The band plays until five or six in the morning, the brave souls who trade sleep for party time rub their eyes as the sun starts to beat down on the festival grounds.

This festival is about so much more than music. As our group has gotten older, we’ve all got a little more mature. Some of us are married, some of us have kids, some of us bring those kids for a day or two. Grassroots is like a family and class reunion all it once. Speaking of which, my 20 year is coming up in 2012 and I may actually go when the time comes, as long as it’s not the third weekend in July.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.jambands.com/the-loop/2010/08/25/the-best-festival-you-ve-never-heard-of/

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