Posts Tagged ‘johnson city’

Larry Keel and Natural Bridge

Thursday, Feb 10th ~ Gerstle’s Place ~ Louisville, KY

Friday, Feb 11th ~ Cosmic Charlie’s ~ Lexington, KY

Saturday, Feb 12th ~ Spring Street Music Hall ~ Johnson City, TN

Joining the award-winning Flatpickin legend, Larry Keel, to make up Natural Bridge are Mark Schimick on mandolin and vocals, Larry’s life-long picker pal (and fishing phenom) Will Lee on blistering banjo and otherworldly lead vocals, and wife Jenny Keel holding strong on upright bass and vocals. Jenny Keel has been playing bass with her husband and virtually all of his specialty projects for over 14 years, she is a player known for impeccable timing and solid, yet imaginative bass lines as well as adding tenor vocal harmonies.

“Hot and fluent bluegrass act showcasing Larry Keel’s dazzling guitar skills and gruff, baritone vocals, wife Jenny’s granite-firm bass guitar work and the support of top-shelf backing players. . . Good folks, amazing roots music.” ~ Tad Dickens

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Donna the Buffalo headlines the Blue Plum Festival in Johnson City, TN this Friday, June 4th. They start at 8:30pm for this free street festival. Check out this great interview:

Donna the Buffalo’s mysterious soup: ‘the rhythm, the message, the sense of community’

By Doug Janz | Wednesday, June 2, 2010


The roots rock/jam band Donna the Buffalo touches on a lot of musical styles, incorporating folk, rock, country, reggae, old-time, zydeco, cajun, jazz and even a little bluegrass. But what makes the band so popular and longstanding is something more than just the music.

“I think over the years it’s been kind of a vibe,” said Tara Nevins, one of the group’s co-founders. “Whenever you go to a show, a vibe is created. It’s a community feeling that brings people together. I guess people like our message, it’s sort of a positive experience, and people love to dance.

“So there’s the rhythm, the message, the sense of community — it’s a very mysterious soup with a lot of ingredients in it.”

Nevins plays acoustic guitar, fiddle, accordion and washboard as well as sings, while band co-founder Jeb Puryear sings and plays electric guitar.

The lineup has changed a few times over the years, always maintaining the band’s organic sound, and now includes Dave McCracken on keyboards, Kyle Spark on bass and Vic Stafford on drums.

Nevins and Puryear have been friends for 30 years and struck some musical sparks early on. Despite the fact they’re two very different personalities with unique sounds and styles, they meshed well. He’s been described as having a Bob Dylanesque quality, while Nevins has drawn comparisons to Stevie Nicks, Emmylou Harris and Natalie Merchant.

“We’re similar and we’re different, and that’s what makes it work,” Nevins said. “The inspiration and begining of it all was playing old-time fiddle music, just sitting in an open field, playing it over and over and getting into a groove. “Then it eventually went electric, but at the time everybody in the band played only old-time music, so to jump into the world of keyboards and drums and electric guitars, it was a new mode of expression. And it evolved from there.”

Their music is rhythmic but has a looseness and rawness to it. As a regular member of the jam band community, they’re always able to improvise, follow the music and follow the vibe.

“We don’t have a set list, we never have,” Nevins said. “We get up there and play what we feel, usually. “We try to decide what the first three songs might be, but even that can change. We used to make set lists all the time 20 years ago, but we’d never stick to it ever, so we just get out there now and play.”

This year they celebrated 20 years of the Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance in Trumansburg, N.Y., an event Nevins and Puryear founded. Another festival spun off from that, the GrassRoots Festival in Shakori Hills, N.C., near Chapel Hill, which DtB regularly plays, as well.

“Festivals are the best gigs there are,” Nevins said. “You’re reaching the most people at one time, they’re feeling that vibe and everybody comes to have a good time. It’s a really fertile ground for community and positive feeling.”

They got a nice surprise last month at Shakori Hills when legendary Led Zeppelin bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones sat in with them.

“It was a very cool thing,” Nevins said. “He was actually going from the West coast back to England, but he couldn’t get back home because of the volcano (in Iceland). We were surprised that he stopped by, but he got up with us and played some keyboards and mandolin and it was great.”

As for the group’s odd name, it has no deep, significant meaning. Originally they were thinking about Dawn of the Buffalo as a moniker, but it was mispronounced, they all laughed about it and, somehow, the name stuck.

Their fans are a driving force in the band’s creativity. Known as The Herd, this extended Donna the Buffalo family “gives us something,” Nevins said, “and we try to give back to them.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.gotricities.com/article.php?id=7372

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Contributed to the Press


Larry Keel and Natural Bridge takes the stage at Stir Fry Cafe on Friday, Sept. 4, at 10 p.m.  (Contributed to the Press / )

Larry Keel and Natural Bridge takes the stage at Stir Fry Cafe on Friday, Sept. 4, at 10 p.m. (Contributed to the Press / )

Flatpicking legend Larry Keel and Natural Bridge will play Friday, Sept. 4, at Stir Fry Cafe, 3020 Franklin Terrace Drive.

Showtime is 10 p.m. and admission is $5. The show is 21-and-up.

Over the past decade and a half, the two-time national flatpick champion has made a name for himself through his fiery-fingered guitar mastery, his almost otherworldly vocal style, and his wild, progressive mountain sound that has one foot firmly planted in tradition while the other reaches out beyond the boundaries.

With a keen focus on talent, Keel assembled Natural Bridge, a masterful union of kindred spirits who share a common musical vision. Held together by the cheerful steady backbone of Jenny Keel (bass fiddle, vocals), Natural Bridge features the fireball Mark Schimick (mandolin, vocals) and the charming, crescendo pickin’ Jason Flournoy (banjo, vocals).

The group’s February release, “Backwoods,” was co-produced by Keller Williams and has met with rave reviews.

“Listening to ‘Backwoods,’ it’s clear that the foursome mesh together so very well in a thrilling union of skills, which brings me to what makes Backwoods so engrossing. We’ve been blessed with so many gifted musicians among the roots world that it causes a lingering sense of amazement as much as it unintentionally creates a slightly jaded feeling. It’s the approach to the material that makes all the difference here, a hybrid of bluegrass with folk, country and jazz that tweaks the arrangements in subtly shifting ways to grab one’s attention. Keel dubs it ‘New Mountain Music,’ and that’s good enough for me. It feels like sunshine peaking through a thick forest or a sunrise with the grass caked by morning dew.” — John Patrick Gatta, jambands.com

“Expert musicians know in reality, it’s about the band and the final product, not just the star dominating the limelight. Larry Keel is an expert musician and having surrounded himself with musicians of high caliber, he gives them room to shine.” Bluegrass Unlimited, review of “Backwoods.”

For more information on the show, call Stir Fry at 232-6000. For more information, visit http://www.larrykeel.com and http://www.myspace.com/larrykeel.

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