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Posts Tagged ‘Grassroots’

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(Left to right: David McCracken, Jeb Puryear, Tara Nevins, Mark Raudabaugh, Kyle Spark). Photo by Chris Mortenson from the band’s recent appearance on Jam in The Van

Distinctive, Groove-heavy, and Danceable,
Donna The Buffalo Recording New Album with Producer Rob Fraboni

 

Spring and Summer Tour Dates Announced!

ASHEVILLE, NC — Donna the Buffalo is joining forces with legendary Producer/ Engineer Rob Fraboni to record their next album February 2018 at Sonic Ranch in El Paso, TX. It is one of the world’s largest residential recording studios and is built around an 80-year-old hacienda and pecan orchard right along the border. Fraboni is well known for his work with Bob Dylan, The Band, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Tim Hardin, The Beach Boys, Joe Cocker, and Bonnie Raitt, and as Vice President at Island Records where he oversaw the remastering of the entire Bob Marley catalog. He produced the soundtrack on Martin Scorsese‘s groundbreaking concert movie, The Last Waltz, which included an all-star cast of famous rock and roll performers. He built and designed the legendary Shangri-La studios in Malibu to the specification of Bob Dylan and the Band. Referred to as a “genius” by Keith Richards in his bestselling autobiography Life.

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Rob Fraboni, Tara Nevins, and Jeb Puryer at Sonic Ranch. Photo by Bess Greenberg

Known as one of the most dynamic and determined bands continuously touring America since 1989, Pittsburgh City Paper says, “Though it will always be hard to pinpoint the key to an act’s staying power, distinctiveness and consistency surely can’t hurt. Donna the Buffalo has carved out a niche; it has weathered trends, and even made some of its own by being unapologetically itself.Donna the Buffalo is Jeb Puryear (vocals, electric guitar) and Tara Nevins (vocals, fiddle, guitar, accordion, scrubboard) joined by David McCracken (B3 Hammond organ, Hohner Clavinet & piano), Kyle Spark (bass) and Mark Raudabaugh (drums).

Donna the Buffalo drew their original inspiration from a cherished part of the American heritage: the old-time music festivals of the south that drew entire towns and counties together. Not only was it playing music at these events, it was the vibe and the togetherness that bonded the people that attended. The Erie Times says, They craft spirit-soaring songs with distinct sensibilities: Nevins’ songs are unfailingly melodic, brisk and buoyant, powered by her reassuring, wisdom-soaked vocals and ever-present fiddle and accordion. Puryear’s songs accentuate the groove, his exceptional guitar work and sly, Dylan-like way with lyrics.”

Donna the Buffalo’s fanbase, The Herd, will be excited to hear the news of the upcoming album since their most recent album, Tonight, Tomorrow and Yesterday, came out nearly five years ago in the spring of 2013. All Music Guide says of it, “This is what 21st century Americana sounds like, a little bit of this and that from anywhere wrapped up into a poignant, jamming dance reel, a place where the past and history meet easily in the immediate now and everybody feels like dancing.”

Donna the Buffalo has released ten albums and are affiliated with several others including  two solo albums from Nevins including 2011’s Wood and Stone (produced by Larry Campbell in Levon Helm Studios) and Mule to Ride in 1999,  Puryear’s 2007 solo album Hopes and Dreams, and a 2003 release, Wait Til Spring, with Jim Lauderdale. The band’s 2008 release, Silverlined, as well as the 2013 release, Tonight, Tomorrow and Yesterday, (both on Sugar Hill Records) did well on the Americana Music Chart, each placing well into the top ten.

Donna the Buffalo knows a thing or two about rhythm, says New Haven Register. “Cajun, zydeco and old-time rhythms. A bit of reggae rhythm. Various guitar and fiddle rhythms. The rhythm of traveling by bus year after year for more than a quarter-century now, criss-crossing America… over and over again.”

The band’s tour kicks back up in New York City at at the City Winery in mid-March before a show at Ransom Steele Tavern near their hometown in the Finger Lakes region of New York state. They’ll be sunny Florida for the Suwannee Spring Reunion in March and the Peace River Revival in early April. They’ve got a plethora of shows lined up including two festivals which they started and are still the driving force behind: Spring Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival in Pittsboro in North Carolina in May and The Finger Lakes Grassroots Festival in Trumansburg, New York in July, as well as other great festivals like MerleFest, Old Settlers Music Festival, Edinboro Music & Arts Fest, Buttermilk Jamboree, Blue Heron Music Festival, and more!

Donna the Buffalo on Tour
3/16 Fri – City Winery – New York, NY
3/17 Sat – Ransom Steele Tavern – Apalachin, NY
3/24-25 Sat-Sun – Suwannee Spring Reunion – Live Oak, FL
4/6 Fri – Terra Fermata – Stuart, FL
4/7 Sat – Peace River Revival – Punta Gorda, FL
4/14 Sat – Loaded Up and Truckin @ Oskar Blues Brewery – Hendersonville, NC
4/19-20 Thu-Fri – Old Settlers Music Festival – Driftwood, TX
4/21 Sat – Blue Moon Saloon and Guest House – Lafayette, LA
4/26-29 Thu-Sun – MerleFest – Wilkesboro, NC
5/3-6 Thu-Sun – Spring Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival – Pittsboro, NC
5/11 Fri – The Dock – Ithaca, NY
5/12 Sat – Narrows Center for the Arts – Fall River, MA
5/13 Sun – Infinity Hall – Norfolk, CT
5/17 Thu – Edinboro Music & Arts Fest – Edinboro, PA
5/18 Fri – The Ardmore Music Hall – Ardmore, PA
5/19 Sat – The State Theatre – Falls Church, VA
5/20 Sun – Edinboro Music & Arts Fest – Edinboro, PA
6/16 Sat – Buttermilk Jamboree – Delton, MI
7/6-8 Fri-Sun – Blue Heron Music Festival – Sherman, NY
7/19-22 Thu-Sun – Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival – Trumansburg, NY
8/16 Thu – Daryl’s House Club – Pawling, NY
8/17 Fri – Green Mountain Bluegrass & Roots Festival – Manchester, VT
8/18 Sat – Hickory Festival – Wellsboro, PA
8/24 Fri – Evanston SPACE – Evanston, IL
8/25 Sat – Porcupine Mountains Music Festival – Ontonagon, MI
9/15 Sat – Harwich Cranberry Jam – Harwich, MA

 

“Swing That Thing” Live on Jam in The Van –> 

For more information and tour dates, please visit www.donnathebuffalo.com
www.facebook.com/donnathebuffalo and www.twitter.com/donnathebuffalo

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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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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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The Reunion: 2011

Mountain Roots Management is proud to bring another Smilefest Reunion to the musical family of Smilefest supporters past and present. The 2011 event promises to be something special!  Smilefest Reunion 2011 is scheduled to take place June 3-5, 2011 at Jomeokee Campground in Pinnacle, NC.

This private, invitation only event offers 2 stages, acoustic late night jams, VIP packages, RV and Vehicle Camping passes, and capped ticket sales at 1499 patrons. Smilefest Reunion 2011 promises to be a treat to all the Smile Folk that attend, guaranteeing an intimate experience between patrons, artists and festival.  Nestled below Pilot Mountain, the 100 acre plot has plenty of covered and open camping, rolling hills, scenic mountains and a near perfect amphitheatre which hosts the side-by-side stages.

Photo by John D Kurc



Smilefest is very excited to announce their 2nd and final round of Artist Additions to the Smilefest Reunion 2011. With so much amazing music rooted in the history of this event, a lot of hard work has gone into bringing the utmost in talent old and new.
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Smilefest is very excited to have added to our Sunday closing a special duo set from Jeb and Tara (of Donna and the Buffalo). Others performing over the weekend include: Railroad Earth, JJ Grey and Mofro, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, Danny Barnes and more!
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Tara Nevins and Jeb Puryear, of Donna the Buffalo, have crafted a feel-good, groove-oriented, danceable and often socially conscious music all began over twenty years ago with roots in old time fiddle music that has evolved into a soulful electric Americana mix infused with elements of cajun/ zydeco, rock, folk, reggae, and country. As a band, Donna the Buffalo is known for touring the country while remaining fiercely independent as one of the industry’s most diverse roots-music bands and Encore states they have “earned a reputation as one of the most respected, eclectic and hardest-working acts today.”
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The dynamic songwriting tandem of Americana Roots vocalists Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins have penned over 150 songs in their collaboration with DTB and have many more in the making. Their set at Smilefest is a special duo set which is always enjoyable for their fans to hear their favorite DtB songs in stripped down arrangements.
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This May, Nevins is also releasing a 2nd solo album Wood and Stone which showcases her ever-evolving repertoire as she journeys both back to her own “roots” and head-long into new territory. The album was produced by Larry Campbell with guests including Levon Helm, Jim Lauderdale, Allison Moorer, Teresa Williams and more and will be put out through Sugar Hill Records. In 2008, Puryear released a solo album, Hopes and Dreams, through GrassRoots Festival Records. Donna the Buffalo’s 2008 release Silverlined, on Sugar Hill Records, rose to #8 on the Americana Music Chart and the full band is in studio this spring working on their next album with John Keane in Athens, GA.
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Other Smilefest Artist Additions include:
BIG DADDY BLUEGRASS BAND, RALPH RODDENBERRY (Late Night Pickin’ Set), BIG SOMETHING, BOBBY MILLER and the VIRGINIA DAREDEVILS (Late Night Pickin’ Set), DUK TAN, FROM A SEED, and MATT NICHOLS
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For the full Smilefest Reunion 2011 Artist Lineup, go to http://www.smilefest.com/all-artists

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Arts 2 People
PO Box 1093
Asheville, NC 28802
info@arts2people.org
www.arts2people.org
Contact: Kitty Love, Executive Director, 828-216-8815

Arts 2 People announces the opening of the Artist Resource Center

(Asheville, NC) Arts 2 People, an Asheville-based non-profit devoted to promoting the role of the arts as an integral part of our culture , announces the institution of an Artist Resource Center (ARC).  The ARC will provide programmatic assistance to art-centric entrepreneurs invested in diversifying their business management skills and enhance their ability to benefit from the current revitalization and economic development in downtown Asheville. The Artist Resource Center will teach artists the business skills necessary to make their creative endeavors economically viable and sustainable.

Essentially a career center where artist entrepreneurs can hone business management and other practical skills, the ARC will feature workshops and classes specifically geared toward fostering the growth of local creative professionals. In an economic environment where it is often difficult for small business owners to invest in the equipment needed to evolve, the ARC will provide access to the equipment, training, and support that they require to make the next step.

“The ARC will be of pivotal importance for Asheville’s aspiring creative professionals and the local economy,” says Kitty Love, Executive Director of Arts2People. Asheville thrives off of its art scene, and the ARC offers tools to help facilitate and nurture artists in business. This will create a symbiotic relationship between cultural creatives and the greater community.”

Course offerings at the ARC will include classes on grant-writing, web marketing, bookkeeping with an extensive curriculum designed to give students a strategic approach to launching a productive career. Access to state-of-the-art equipment, software, and peripherals will be available to members and students to utilize for the promotion and development of their businesses. While classes and equipment are essential tools, the ARC also provides a means for artists to connect with a supportive network of peers, one of the most essential yet overlooked pathways to success.

As the Center grows, ARC will  develop an online search engine interface providing the community at large digital access to a plethora of resources including: means for creative professionals to link to resources and each other, a virtual marketplace where artists can broker their work, creative services, or studio spaces, as well as listings of available resources for production. The potential of this comprehensive database will continue to unfold as the ARC’s impact on the community deems its necessity. As artists gain success through the ARC’s programming, Arts 2 People will continue to grow the program to match the needs of the community.

“If our local artist-entrepreneurs manage to build businesses and take advantage of the opportunities that exist here, it will benefit everyone as it solidifies economic success and increases the culture of creativity we already enjoy,” says Love. “What the ARC means for the economy of Asheville, a city with a brisk tourist economy based in no small part on its thriving arts scene, should not be underestimated”.

In collaboration with the YMI Cultural Center, Arts 2 People will house the ARC in one of the historic auxilliary storefronts on Market St. In an effort to work in unison with the Downtown Master Plan Strategy 1 Initiatives that call for the “cultivation of strong links between the cultural district and the Eagle/Market St. district”, Arts 2 People is pleased to have the opportunity to support and facilitate this economically strategic investment for the future of all of Downtown Asheville and the amazing creatives that make this city unique. The Performance Center, planned for nearby, is supportive and will be an active partner of the ARC. The target launch date for the ARC is set for mid-February and  Arts2People is currently seeking Instructors to fulfill all curriculum coursework. For more information, or to submit a class proposal form, please visit arts2people.org or email kitty@arts2people.org.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Funding for this program was made possible by The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. The Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization that serves the 18 county mountain region by professionally managing charitable funds created by individuals and families, and by using those funds to make grants to local nonprofit organizations.

This program is funded, in part, by a Grassroots Arts Program Grant of the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency, and the Asheville Area Arts Council.

Arts2People is an Asheville-based non-profit dedicated to the nurturing, promotion and effective expansion of the local arts scene. The organization is responsible for multiple programs that are proven bright spots in the Asheville cultural landscape — the Lexington Arts and Fun Festival (LAAFF), the Asheville Mural Project (responsible for the Lexington I-240 overpass mural) and the REACH educational program, are just a few of the great programs under Arts2People’s umbrella.

Please visit us on our website:    http://arts2people.org/

Please visit our Facebook pages:     Arts 2 People Page and Group page.

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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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