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Posts Tagged ‘Peter Conners’

Intimate interview with Tara Nevins on the making of the song “Tennessee River” off the new album “Wood and Stone” (Sugar Hill 2011)

Filmed and produced by JAMerica‘s Peter Conners and Denver Miller


“‘Stars Fell On Alabama’ is Tara’s version of an old standard, while ‘Tennessee River’ sounds like she’s written a new standard.” – Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association

“The highlight of the record, though, might be “Tennessee River”, a song that again sees Nevins turning introspective as crunchy, distorted guitars creak in the background a la 1970s Neil Young. In fact, this song could easily be an outtake from Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, with a different vocalist. Again, the disparate elements come together powerfully to provide a neat bookend for the hard-charging opening track. At five minutes, it’s the longest song on the album and one of its most satisfying. “ – David Maine, Pop Matters

“Two surprises on the album are “Stars Fell on Alabama,” in which Nevins turns the ‘30s jazz standard into a bleak, gothic soundscape, and “Tennessee River,” an even more desolate turn recalling the best of Lucinda Williams.” – Aaron Keith Harris, Lonesome Road Review

“‘Tennessee River,’ a dark and gripping song about love’s place in ones’ life, features Campbell’s harrowing, electric guitar wails.” – Bill Clifford – Relix

“If heroes and heroines of rock ‘n’ roll are defined by their uniqueness, they definitely broke the mold when they made Tara Nevins.” – Wildman Steve, The Corner News

“‘Wood and Stone’ is strangely hypnotic at times, with its mesmerizing rhythms and Nevins’ relaxed but commanding delivery. The beautifully dark “Tennessee River” and her cover of the jazz standard, ‘Stars Fell On Alabama,’ are entrancing and highlight Nevins’ beautiful voice” – Boone Mountain Times

“Tara channels swampy accordion and mountain fiddles through a set of songs about heartaches and a longing for the sanctity of family values and a simple home life. The chemistry between Nevins and Campbell cooks up a powerfully convincing sound through tracks like Down South Blues, The Wrong Side and You’re Still Driving That Truck as the duo’s varied strings entwine. But the star turn is the brooding Tennessee River with its big, fat, shimmering guitars and broken heart laid bare. Terrific.” – Properganda

“With the wonderful fiddle groove and vividly written lyrics, Nevins gives a glimpse into her roots. Stepping out for a rare solo record (beyond her beloved band, Donna the Buffalo), she meshes her Cajun influences, unique voice, drums and steel guitars for an intriguing look at her heritage.” – CMT

“A tour de force from start to finish” – Kay Cordtz, Elmore

Visit Tara Nevins website www.TaraNevins.com for more information about the album, a gallery of images, videos, music, and lyrics.

JAMerica is is dial book/ documentary film project that will tell the story of the roots and evolution of the Jam and Festival Scene. Visit www.jamerica.net

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Donna the Buffalo has a host of shows this weekend with the Roy Jay Band opening. They started off to a sold out crowd at the Waterhole in Saranac Lake last night as part of day 6 of Winter Carnival. Tonight (Thursday, Feb 10th) they head over to Albany, NY for a show at Jillian’s.

Friday nite will be a special one for sure at the Water Street Music Hall in Rochester, NY! Author Peter Conners  and  filmographer Denver Miller will be interviewing & filming the band as well as The Herd for a book & documentary project entitled JAMerica [Click to read more about it]. This is definitely a show to be at if you are anywhere near the area! However, do not fret if you can’t make it out; the folks over at Have You Herd are doing a live Herdcast from the show with a chat room, video and audio. You can watch and listen here:  http://webcast.haveyouherd.com/index11.cfm. Rochester City News put together a little blurb about the show here.

On Saturday, DtB travels up to White River Junction, VT to play the Tupelo Music Hall. There’s been a lot of buzz about the shows. Below are a couple of archives of articles for the weekend. One is an interview with Tara Nevins, the other is an interview with Jeb Puryear!

Twenty years later, Donna the Buffalo still roamin’

Founder Tara Nevins talks about making a career out of music, recording with Levon Helm and keeping thing creative ahead of Saturday performance at Tupelo Music Hall

By Brent Hallenbeck, Free Press Staff Writer •  www.burlingtonfreepress.com

Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins. Photo by John D Kurc

The origins of Donna the Buffalo are pretty simple, really: Founders Tara Nevins and Jeb Puryear started with impromptu sessions of old-time fiddle music in Ithaca, N.Y., which led to the two of them writing songs and eventually setting their acoustic instruments aside for a more electric sound. The band’s traditional/Americana/Cajun/rock/country mash-up was born.

The two founders, however, had no idea that they’d still be doing this more than 20 years later.

“It was really fun and exciting starting this new musical journey,” Nevins said during a tour stop in Nashville. “We didn’t think about what’s this going to be about, if it’s a career.”

It’s a career now, one that has earned the band enough of a following for its devoted fans to carry their own collective name (“The Herd”) and for Donna the Buffalo to keep its decades-long road show going. The band’s next Vermont stop comes Saturday, when they play the Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction.

All that time together doesn’t mean Nevins is willing to stand pat. The vocalist and multi-instrumentalist who with Puryear writes most of Donna the Buffalo’s songs is releasing a solo album on her band’s label, Nashville-based Sugar Hill Records, in April. She recorded the album at the rural New York studio of Levon Helm, who as drummer and vocalist for The Band helped to create the organic hybrid of country, folk and rock that Donna the Buffalo carries on.

Helm played on two cuts on the album, according to Nevins. “I had to pinch myself a little bit,” she said. “But really, honestly, when you get in that situation you feel like, ‘Oh, wow,’ but once you start playing music together and hang out with Levon a little bit, he’s such a beautiful man, everything just feels normal. We’re all artists making art. He’s an incredibly gracious person. He’s probably one of the most soulful musicians I’ve ever heard or played with. He’s from the heart.”

. . .   . . .    . . .
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20110210/ENT/110209030/Twenty-years-later-Donna-the-Buffalo-still-roamin

And here is another article for the archives:

Partying with the Herd

By Warren Johnston — Valley News www.vnews.com

. . .   . . .    . . .

Photo of Jeb Puryear by Jim Gavenus

The popular Trumansburg, N.Y., band has been around since 1989, made its initial mark at festivals and built a strong, loyal following known as the “Herd.”

“We’re still excited about the festivals, and playing festivals is a lot of what we do,” said Jeb Puryear. He and Tara Nevins are the remaining founding members of the band. “We’re lifers.”

The two write most of the songs the band plays and most of the tunes on the group’s nine albums.

“I grew up going to festivals and listening to old-time music, and when I met Tara, she had the same love of the (old-time) music. That’s what we started playing (at festivals), and other people seem to enjoy what we play. We really consider ourselves fortunate,” Puryear said.

On the rare occasions when Donna the Buffalo isn’t playing original songs, they’ll perform arrangements of cover songs, such as a reggae version of the bluegrass tune A Man of Constant Sorrow. Puryear, who plays electric guitar and pedal steel and sings, and Nevins, who sings and plays acoustic guitar, washboard, accordion and fiddle, write all of the songs for the band. Their tunes range from country, bluegrass and folk to funk and Zydeco, and all have a foot-stomping beat.

In addition to Puryear and Nevins, the band includes Vic Stafford on drums, David McCracken on electric keyboard and organ, and Kyle Spark on electric bass.

Donna the Buffalo’s last studio album, Silverlined, features songs that are more electrified and have a greater keyboard presence than the songs on earlier CDs. Puryear said there hasn’t been a conscious effort to change styles, but “I guess we’ve progressed. If we could step back and look at it, we probably have. It’s hard to tell when you’re in it every day.”

This spring the band will go back into the studio to work on a new album, he said.

Puryear is not quite sure who came up with the name of the band, which was a mispronunciation of the group’s original name. “We were just getting going, and somebody came up with the name Dawn of the Buffalo, which sort of had the imagery of believing in the power of music or something. When we started playing, somebody mispronounced it as Donna the Buffalo. We thought it was pretty funny and started playing under that name.”

. . .    . . .    . . .

“A lot of our shows follow a similar trend. We try to get the music going, and then it spreads through the crowd; and the show becomes one piece, then it’s party time where everybody gets into it and comes together. The crowd comes to hear the band, but the band goes to the gig for the same reason. Without the band and the music, there’s no show, but without the crowd getting into the music, there’s no show,” Puryear said.

. . .    . . .    . . .

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.vnews.com/02032011/7610310.htm

Vic Stafford & Kyle Spark. Photo by Lewis Tezak Jr.

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Here’s some great excerpts fom an article about Donna the Buffalo in preview for their show at 123 Plesant Street in Morgantown, WV Jan 22.

Donna the Buffalo Takes the Stage at 123

…  … …
The roots band — which easily blends several genres from folk to reggae — has come through Morgantown for 20 years.
…According to 123 owner L.J. Giuliani, the group’s sound remains consistently infectious.
“… is heavily influenced by a zydeco swing that makes it hard not to dance to,” he said in an email. “That lends itself to a pretty high-energy show that people really love. They have toured the region extensively, so their reputation definitely proceeds them.”
… … …
Nevins said she hopes to see some familiar faces in the crowd, which isn’t an uncommon experience. The band’s fans, who call themselves The Herd, are a dedicated bunch, even starting a charitable fundraising organization, Side To Side Charities, in 2002.
“A lot of fans show up at a lot of the gigs, and we’ve gotten to know them and recognize them,” Nevins said.
Self-organized, The Herd is quite active, she said, and several websites have been created to help fans keep in touch with one another.
The band’s own website, Facebook page and Twitter account also keeps those interested up-to-date with photos and commentary from recent shows as well as any other pertinent information.
For instance, the band recently posted on its Facebook page that it will be included in “JAMerica,” a documentary and book project by Peter Conners and Denver Miller that focuses on the genre’s emergence and growth.
Nevins said band members will meet with the project’s organizers in the next two weeks to discuss details.
And that’s not all that’s on the band’s plate. In the midst of a busy touring schedule, Donna the Buffalo will head to Nashville in the next couple of months to record another album, more than two years after its latest effort “Silverlined.” And in April, Nevins’ solo album “Wood and Stone” will debut. Both albums are set for release on Sugar Hill Records.
While the band’s schedule can be hectic, Nevins said finding time to rest, get some good food on the road and take care herself helps. And a positive perspective can’t hurt either.
“Everybody is really busy doing whatever they do,” she said. “We’re no different. If you love what you do, that’s an advantage to anyone.”

Fun Herd related sites:

 

 

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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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