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

“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

“Wood And Stone adds another powerful and engaging chapter to Nevins’ musical achievements”. – Steven Stone, Vintage Guitar

“a wide-ranging affair encompassing all manner of rootsy Americana, spiced with Nevins’s voice and multi-instrumentalist skills, served up in a package that is polished but never slick. Nevins, in other words, is the real deal.” – David Maine, Pop Matters

“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

“Larry has taken Tara’s music to an entirely higher level, if this doesn’t turn into an award winner they’ll have been cheated!” – Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association

“It’s a smart move…” – Andy Gill, UK Independent

“The centerpiece of the album, in my opinion, is the sweeping “The Wrong Side,” which features Allison Moorer and Teresa Williams. It’s a track sounds like it was from the O’Brother Where Art Thou? sessions, but the same could be said of the haunting “Stars Fell On Alabama,” where once again Nevins shows her prowess on the fiddle. This is an exceptional piece of music, one that I think needs to be heard—to prove that people are still cutting “Country Music” these days!” – Chuck Dauphin, Music News Nashville

“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

“Songs such as the fiddle-infused title cut, a touching tribute to home and family, and ‘You’re Still Driving That Truck’ are country rockers. ‘Snowbird’ is a string ballad about unrequited love, while “Nothing Really” is an instrumental bluegrass dust-up. ‘Tennessee River,’ a dark and gripping song about love’s place in ones’ life, features Campbell’s harrowing, electric guitar wails. The record closes with a cathartic, beautiful cover of Van Morrison’s ‘The Beauty of Days Gone By’—bringing Wood and Stone full circle.”  Bill Clifford – Relix

“The sound is both loose and tight at the same time; the band knows how to walk that line and let Nevins be herself. To put it simply, it just plain works.”  – Brian Robbins, Jambands.com

For more reviews of ‘Wood and Stone’ please visit Taranevins.com

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Tara Nevins with The Heartbeats

“Wood and Stone”

From the Living Room to the Loft
SiriusXM Recording
Wednesday, July 6th, 2011
$15 , 21+
10pm set-time

The Living Room
212-533-7237
154 Ludlow Street
New York, NY 10002
www.livingroomny.com
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American roots traditionalist Tara Nevins’ new release, ‘Wood and Stone’ is an exploration of her own heritage, musical and otherwise. Released on May 3rd, 2011 on Sugar Hill Records ‘Wood and Stone’ was produced by Larry Campbell at the Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, NY.

Nevins will be performing a set of music from the new album live “From The Living Room to the Loft” on Wednesday, July 6th at 10pm. The Heartbeats,  the all-female, old time/Cajun band that Tara has played with for years, will be joining Tara on stage at the Living Room in NYC and the evening’s show is recorded to air on Sirius XM. Also joining Tara and the Heartbeats will be Lora Pendelton- Guitar and Vocals, Thomas Bryan Eaton- pedal steel, Barry Mitterhoff (from Hot Tuna)- Mandolin.

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Wood and Stone has been well received with sentiments of the music being an eloquent, honest blend of Donna the Buffalo, Americana, old time country, pop and straight up rock and roll:

“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“Larry has taken Tara’s music to an entirely higher level, if this doesn’t turn into an award winner they’ll have been cheated!” – Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association

“This is an exceptional piece of music, one that I think needs to be heard—to prove that people are still cutting ‘Country Music’ these days!” – Chuck Dauphin, Music News Nashville

“‘Tennessee River,’ a dark and gripping song about love’s place in ones’ life, features Campbell’s harrowing, electric guitar wails. The record closes with a cathartic, beautiful cover of Van Morrison’s ‘The Beauty of Days Gone By’—bringing Wood and Stone full circle.” Bill Clifford – Relix

“…as invigorating as it is mesmerizing.” – Amos Perrine, No Depression

“… That’s the mark of the good ones, the guarantee is their name on the label, something Nevins shares with Van Morrison (maybe it’s the water in Woodstock) whose ‘Beauty Of Days Gone By’ closes out the album.” Blurt

“The pedigree of the album is staggering. Start with Nevins, who has been an integral member of DTB since its formation in 1987, and add producer Larry Campell along with guest performers Levon Helm, Jim Lauderdale, Allison Moorer, and Teresa Williams, and you get a record that is as solid as the building materials mentioned in the title.” – Fifty Cent Lighter Blog

“a stellar collection….It’s an album that sounds familiar, yet new, not an easy feat.” – Jim Morrison, No Depression

…..the real bridge between past and present is a voice, so singular and beautiful, that it must be heard to be appreciated. – Chip Frasier, Twangville

“… her music takes on the spirit of the [Levon Helm] Barn like a well-worn and cozy Gypsy jacket that was tailored to her shoulders.” – Brian Robbins, Jambands.com

“She’s outdone herself with the superb ‘Wood and Stone.’ – Jeffrey Sisk, The Daily News

“exceptional music and excellent songwriting; ten of the thirteen tunes were written by Ms Nevins, and she does sure brighten the day.” – FAME


Visit www.TaraNevins.com for more information about the album,
a gallery of images, videos, music and lyrics.
Wood and Stone showcases Nevins’ ever-evolving repertoire as she journeys both back to her own “roots” and head-long into new territory. Featured guests on the album include Levon Helm, Jim Lauderdale, Allison Moorer, Teresa Williams, The Heartbeats, along with the core band of Larry Campbell, Justin Guip, and Byron Isaacs.

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Tara Nevins is sharing the song “Stars Fell on Alabama” from the new album Wood and Stone. This is Nevins’ version of the jazz classic. She was commissioned to rewrite this song for the soundtrack to “20 Years After” a post-apocalyptic movie directed by Jim Torres in Huntsville, Alabama.

“‘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

Listen to “Stars Fall on Alabama”

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“Opening with a mournful fiddle and Rose Sinclair’s poignant banjo and even though I am familiar with at least two dozen other renditions of the song, it’s as though I heard it for the first time. It is stunning in its quietness.” – Amos Perrine, No Depression

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TaraNevins.com

You can also find Tara on facebook  facebook.com/TaraNevins

and DonnaTheBuffalo.com


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Wood and Stone is available at:
iTunes: http://www.itunes.com/taranevins
Amazon: http://amzn.to/lcEglg

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“Larry has taken Tara’s music to an entirely higher level, if this doesn’t turn into an award winner they’ll have been cheated!” – Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association “as invigorating as it is mesmerizing.” – Amos Perrine, No Depression

“Campbell and Nevins work some real magic here”  – Hyperbolium

“The sound is both loose and tight at the same time; the band knows how to walk that line and let Nevins be herself. To put it simply, it just plain works.”  – Brian Robbins, Jambands.com

“As much as I have listened to “Mule to Ride” during the past twelve years, I, like many other Donna fans,  have also yearned to hear Tara in her own voice, on her own terms. The new album is just that — and more.” – Amos Perrine, No Depression

“‘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 pedigree of the album is staggering.  Start with Nevins, who has been an integral member of DTB since its formation in 1987, and add producer Larry Campell along with guest performers Levon Helm, Jim Lauderdale, Allison Moorer, and Teresa Williams, and you get a record that is as solid as the building materials mentioned in the title.” – Fifty Cent Lighter Blog

“‘What Money Cannot Buy’ and ‘The Wrong Side’ are two different versions on ‘I’ve been wronged”’ songs, the latter being one of the most upbeat sounding takes on breaking up that I’ve ever heard.” – Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association

“But even that great track [The Wrong Side] did not prepare me for what comes next, the only song Tara did not write, the jazz vocal standard, “Stars Fell on Alabama.” Opening with a mournful fiddle and Rose Sinclair’s poignant banjo and even though I am familiar with at least two dozen other renditions of the song, it’s as though I heard it for the first time. It is stunning in its quietness.” – Amos Perrine, No Depression

“If you like the fiddle, in almost all it’s various forms, and want to wade into something with country, old time, zydeco, cajun, and maybe even some bluegrass touches, you couldn’t do better than to start with this CD.” – Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association

“her songs stretch out across all her influences, including fiddle- and steel-lined country, second line rhythms and the Cajun sounds of her earlier band, the Heartbeats.”  – Hyperbolium

“… her music takes on the spirit of the [Levon Helm] Barn like a well-worn and cozy Gypsy jacket that was tailored to her shoulders.” – Brian Robbins, Jambands.com

“Producer Larry Campbell fits each song with a unique groove and adds superb electric and pedal steel guitar. The girlishness in Nevins’ voice and the layering of double-tracked vocals add a hint of the Brill Building, which is a terrific twist on the rustic arrangements.”  – Hyperbolium

“… Riding high from producing two Grammy Award winners for Helm, Campbell keeps things bright and tight without giving up intimacy.  And, that’s the charm of this album, the sense of getting a peek into Nevins’ splendid soul and her vast woodsy song repertoire.” –Billing Gazette

“soulful country groove” – Hyperbolium


“‘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

“The lyrics cast an eye on relationships that refuse to live up to their potential, with music that underlines the certainty of a woman who will no longer suffer others’ indecision, inaction or infidelity.”  – Hyperbolium

“‘Wood and Stone’ is not emotionally-wrenching, rather it is a wise retrospective of the joys and sorrows of love. Nevins’ writing isn’t that of an angry divorcee, so don’t expect the album to be a diatribe on men. Her writing is a reflection of experiences to which anyone can relate.”  – Boone Mountain Times

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Tara Nevins releases her new album ‘Wood and Stone’ tomorrow, Tuesday May 3rd! Amos Perrine reviewed the album for No Depression. Here is an excerpt from the review. Please click the link to read the full post.


“Wood and Stone” is likely the solo album that many Donna the Buffalo fans have wanting. Tara has said the songs on the album are about relationships and begins, fittingly enough, with the title track about her own family, her home, mixing the inorganic and the organic that makes family life the foundation of one’s own journey. . . .  . . . .

Produced by multi-talented Larry Campbell and with only a few extra special guests, Levon Helm, Teresa Williams, Jim Lauderdale and Allison Moorer, it’s very much a solo album with a band and recorded in Woodstock at Levon’s studio. Tara as singer-songwriter is front and center here. As much as I have listened to “Mule to Ride” during the past twelve years, I, like many other Donna fans, have also yearned to hear Tara in her own voice, on her own terms. The new album is just that — and more.

Upon repeated listenings to “Wood and Stone” I find that the album seems to be two albums. The first half is the result of constant touring with the band, are very Donna-like and you can easily see these songs as part of their sets. It will please any Donna fan, including myself. But whether purposeful or not, the transition for me is separated by the album’s only instrumental track, “Nothing Really,” that is smack dab in the middle of the album.

The album vears away from an overt Donna influence with “What Money Cannot Buy” and, again purposefully or not, Tara’s vocals become stronger, more upfront. The next song, “The Wrong Side,” is a highlight, about a bad breakup and moving on. Replete with swing fiddle, pedal steel and electric guitar solo breaks, you can easily see it a hit song back in the 1950’s — commercial country music’s artistic highpoint.

But even that great track did not prepare me for what comes next, the only song Tara did not write, the jazz vocal standard, “Stars Fell on Alabama.” Opening with a mournful fiddle and Rose Sinclair’s poignant banjo and even though I am familiar with at least two dozen other renditions of the song, it’s as though I heard it for the first time. It is stunning in its quietness.

I asked Tara during a conversation at MerleFest about the genesis of the performance, especially as it was also the only song not recorded at Levon’s studio. She was asked by the people who made the 2008 movie “20 Years After” to do the song in a more Americana mode. While the movie was unsuccessful, Tara’s version continues to haunt me.

Following the very uptempo “Down South Blues,” the album turns introspective again with “Tennessee River” that’s driven by Larry Campbell’s fuzz electric guitar and Justin Guip’s heart pounding drumming. It takes your breath away. The album’s final track is a near spiritual, “The Beauty of Days Gone By.” Closing out the circle of relationships with reflections on a life lived, memories and the relationship we have with ourselves.

By concentrating on the latter tracks, I do not mean to slight the others, it’s just that the second half of the album seems to come out of a different place, a deeper well that is as invigorating as it is mesmerizing.

READ THE FULL POST HERE: http://www.nodepression.com/profiles/blogs/tara-nevinswood-and-stone

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Multi-instrumentalist and Producer Larry Campbell sits down with Tara Nevins (Donna the Buffalo) to discuss her upcoming solo album “Wood And Stone”. Hear music and download the song “Snowbird” for free at http://www.facebook.com/TaraNevins. To order the new album head over to www.funkyside.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hear music and download “Snowbird for free at http://www.facebook.com/TaraNevins. To order the new album head over to www.funkyside.com.

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