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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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Donna The Buffalo with The Sim Redmond Band and The Double E
Holiday Party at the CSMA Annex Building!

Saturday, December 22, 2012, 9pm, $20
CSMA 3rd Floor Ballroom
330 East State St., Ithaca, NY 14850
www.csma-ithaca.org

Donna the Buffalo: Donna the Buffalo’s feel-good, groove-oriented, danceable and often socially conscious music all began over twenty years ago with roots in old time fiddle music that evolved into a soulful electric Americana mix infused with elements of cajun/ zydeco, rock, folk, reggae, and country. Donna the Buffalo is known for touring the country remaining fiercely independent as one of the industry’s most diverse roots-music bands and has “earned a reputation as one of the most respected, eclectic and hardest-working acts today,” praises Encore.

The dynamic songwriting tandem of vocalists Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins have penned over 180 songs in their collaboration with DTB and have many more in the making. They have been working on a 10th album with Puryear on guitar and vocals; Nevins on fiddle, guitar, accordion, scrubboard and vocals; keyboardist Dave McCracken; bassist Kyle Spark; and drummer Mark Raudabaugh.

Sim Redmond Band: Since their inception over 10 years ago, the Sim Redmond Band has been steadily on the rise, forging new ground in roots music. Traveling around the globe, playing with the likes of moe., the Neville Brothers, the Wailers, Jimmy Cliff, and Habib Koite, in some of the most beautiful venues in the U.S. and Japan, the world has taken notice. With 6 tours of Japan under their belt, SRB’s unique blend of roots-rock, Afro-Carribean, and reggae music continues to spread like wild fire.

They are based in Ithaca, NY but their magnetic pole is Africa, particularly the sounds emanating from West & South Africa. This magnetic pole has served as a pivot for the Sim Redmond Band to spring into straight rock grooves and pumping reggae. The vocal teamwork of Sim Redmond, Jen Middaugh, and Nate Silas Richardson creates some of the richest harmonies you’ll ever hear.

Photo by Ed Dittenhoefer / FreeAirPhoto

The Double E: Songs of love, songs of hope, songs of heartbreak, songs of the road and songs of coming back home. Introducing The Double E, a five-piece rockin’ band from Trumansburg, NY with a sweet country flavor. Amy Puryear will steal your heart with her beautiful voice and classic style country songs, while Ward Puryear and Jason Shegogue on guitar, and Lily Aceto on bass craft a gorgeous musical bed underneath.

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by CLARA ROSE THORNTON – Published: February 10, 2011

In 2005, I began working for a music promotions organization called Home Grown Music Network, based out of Mebane, N.C. Founded by radio DJ and music fanatic Lee Crumpton in 1995, it’s a multi-platform company that offers a pool of volunteers, nationwide, willing to promote touring bands in exchange for free music and concert tickets.

Bands are chosen as network members through a rigorous selection process that aims to pinpoint the best independent groups in and surrounding America’s festival scene — bands that don’t fit neatly into simplified genres like “roots rock,” “jam,” or rock‘n’roll’s other current labels.

Once chosen, HGMN (www.homegrownmusic.net) provides several career resources for these groups trudging through the mire of a frenetic — if not negligent — music industry without corporate backing. In addition to the cells of volunteers and fans around the country, bands also get to sell their CDs and merchandise through the well-trafficked website, get added to playlists at affiliate radio stations, and be put in the faces of thousands who might not have heard them otherwise.

HGMN even started its own record label, Harmonized, in 2002.

Needless to say, the folks behind the organization — Crumpton and press/volunteer coordinator Chris Robie — are indefatigable. When I signed on as a volunteer and later a journalist, I received at regular intervals boxes upon boxes of music catalogs, posters, stickers and the best part — free CDs.

I devoured these LPs, EPs, live discs and samplers. In addition to starting my music journalism career, HGMN turned my home into the lush flowering pot of musical mayhem that it remains.

And, as many musicians and promoters know, the relationships between fans and bands of true substance often prove unbreakable.

During this time I discovered Sim Redmond Band from Ithaca, N.Y., whose worldbeat track “All is Not Lost” entered the hallowed ground of my Top 10. I discovered The Bridge, a sumptuous and energetic rock sextet from Baltimore, who, in fact, I’m making a three-hour road trip to see tonight, at Higher Ground in Burlington. I brought my love of them with me when I moved from Chicago to Vermont. That’s the sort of dedication these bands inspire.

Donna the Buffalo was one of these groups. When seeing it in the catalogue, I thought the name was rather strange, but intriguing. It struck me as possibly some Native American band full of environmental activists, people whose concerts included ritual and howls and 10-minute drum jams.

photo by Jim Gavenus

The howls are there, I came to find out, but there are many more whines of the accordion and wisps of Cajun/zydeco tomfoolery involved than riffs on global warming or trance-inducing drum circles. Donna the Buffalo, a 21-year-old cult favorite quintet from Trumansburg, N.Y., is energetic, inventive and soulful, and imagine the thrust down memory lane I experienced when seeing they’d be playing Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction on Saturday. They’ve kept trucking, against the odds for an independent band, and are more popular and prolific than ever.

“We were sitting together in a circle one day, in the earliest days of the band, trying to come up with a name,” recalled co-founder and co-bandleader Tara Nevins, via telephone from the road. “We knew we wanted ‘buffalo’ in there somehow. Someone said ‘Dawn of the Buffalo’ jokingly, mocking a Hallmark sort of theme. But we misheard him and thought he said ‘Donna the Buffalo.’”

“We started laughing, because these things get silly sometimes, and couldn’t stop laughing,” Nevins continued. “We thought it sounded cool and it stuck.”

Nevins — who contributes accordion, scrubboard, fiddle, guitar and vocals — founded Donna the Buffalo with guitarist/vocalist Jeb Puryear in Ithaca, N.Y., in 1990. Nevins had been a longtime fiddle player, and she and Puryear began writing songs together with no definitive plan in place, just exercising creativity in that college town’s rich musical milieu. After returning from a trip to southwest Louisiana for Mardi Gras, she was so deeply inspired by the Cajun and Creole music she’d encountered that she added a zydeco flair to her playing, soon recruiting more members and solidifying the sound of the fledgling band.

Through two decades on the road and seven albums, the band has garnered a dedicated fanbase, coining itself “The Herd.” Puryear’s and Nevins’ poetic lyrics that contemplate life’s longing, losses and exuberance, along with the occasionally kitschy, though upbeat and fun, Louisiana-inspired soundscapes provide quite the singular concert experience. For example, just yesterday, when mentioning my Nevins interview on my Facebook page, a Bellows Falls friend named Dagan Selbach-Broad immediately got excited and responded, “I love Donna the Buffalo! I’ve seen them over 40 times!”

Nevins will release a solo album entitled “Wood and Stone” in April on Sugar Hill Records. Donna the Buffalo’s show on Saturday at Tupelo Music Hall, a BYOB venue, begins at 8 p.m.

Two other concerts occur in southern Vermont this weekend in that road warrior spirit of purity, that essence of which Home Grown Music Network lauds and nurtures.

The first, incidentally, is also a Home Grown band and a zydeco band, Buckwheat Zydeco, from Lafayette, La.

Buckwheat Zydeco

Buckwheat Zydeco is the stage name of accordion player Stanley Dural Jr., born in 1947. He’s one of the only traditional zydeco acts to achieve mainstream, pop culture success; the band is a household name among southern music fans.

He brings his group, formerly billed as “Buckwheat Zydeco and Ils Son Partis Band” to the Bellows Falls Opera House at 8 p.m. tonight.

And tomorrow, San Antonio, Texas, alternative-country songbird Rosie Flores brings her distinctive mixture of Tex-Mex, rockabilly, honky tonk and jazz/swing to Boccelli’s On the Canal in Bellows Falls at 7:30 p.m.

It’s a weekend of from-the-heart, multicultural creative whimsy happening around our stomping grounds. Throw your best “devil may care” glance to the snow and add your yelp.

Clara Rose Thornton is a freelance cultural critic and arts journalist originally hailing from Chicago who now lives in an artists’ colony in Bellows Falls. She can be reached at clara@inkblotcomplex.com, or through her website, clararosethornton.com. Follow her at twitter.com/ClaraRose.

READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE POST HERE: http://rutlandherald.com

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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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Donna the Buffalo is on for a great weekend heading through Nashville, Greensboro, and Asheville. There are lots of great interviews for the shows which are posted below. Co-band leader, Tara Nevins, kicked of the day yesterday with a solo studio session on the Lightning  100 with Lt Dan. Then the band went over to the Loveless Barn for a Music City Roots performance with other amazing artist including  Catie Curtis, The Cleverlys, The Black Lillies, and Rayland Baxter. Check out some wonderful pics from the night here.

DtB will be playing on Cannery Street tonight in Nashville at the Mercy Lounge with the Roy Jay Band, who is on the road with DtB for several shows this winter. Here’s a nice writeup in the Nashville Scene by Edd Hurt about the show:

Photo by Jim Gavenus

Folkies with a superior sense of rhythm are rare enough, but folkies with a good beat and a healthy disrespect for eclectic clichés are a national treasure. Hailing from the metropolis of Trumansburg, N.Y., Donna the Buffalo began playing their mixture of country, soul, zydeco and folk 20 years ago, and they’ve never sounded better. On their 2008 full-length Silverlined, songwriters Tara Nevins and Jeb Puryear came up with such great songs as “Biggie K,” which may be the finest tune ever written about childbirth: “Though her stomach’s stretched and pulled / She’s never been more beautiful.” The quintet’s easy way with American roots music suggests a fusion of Brinsley Schwarz and The Holy Modal Rounders, and they make music that’s beautiful but never prettified. They say they have a couple of projects in the works, including a full-band effort and a solo record by Nevins.  Read the original post at nashvillescene.com.

On Friday, January 28th, they head on over to Greensboro, NC to play at the new Blind Tiger. David McCracken, DtB’s B3 Hammond player, grew up in Greensboro and did this great interview with Eddie Huffman from GoTriad.com:

photo by Jim Gavenus

From the moment Greensboro native Dave McCracken first saw Donna the Buffalo play live, at MerleFest in 1997, he knew he belonged in the band.

“I watched them for the first time, and I remember I saw them move the organ across the stage,” McCracken says, speaking by phone from his mother’s house in Liberty. “I said out loud, ‘Man, that should be me.’ Ten years later — 10 years later! — it’s me. I swear, I don’t even know how that happened. I just knew it should be me for some reason.”

. . .    . . .    . . .

Donna the Buffalo formed in 1989 in upstate New York but has made many N.C. connections in the years since — McCracken and North Wilkesboro’s MerleFest among them. The group signed with Sugar Hill Records, a fixture in Durham for more than two decades before the label moved its offices to Nashville, and the members of Donna the Buffalo founded the twice-yearly Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance in rural Chatham County, now entering its eighth year.

. . .    . . .    . . .

Jam band fans already knew McCracken via Folkswaggin’, which started in Greensboro in 1994 and played at the Blind Tiger regularly.

“I really cut my teeth in that place,” he says. “That’s where I learned how to play keyboards. I’ve been playing there since ’97. I’ve gone through a lot of things in that place, and it means a lot to me. I’m looking forward to playing there again. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there.”

In recent years, McCracken has played at the Blind Tiger with Q-Bex, a version of the band Hobex which includes acclaimed drummer Jeff Sipe.

McCracken did a stint in Hobex about 10 years ago, and he played in a metal band called Perpetual Iniquity in Greensboro as a teenager in the late 1980s. But his musical ambitions go all the way back to his early childhood in the 1970s.

“Playing music for a living was seriously a dream I had when I was, like, 3,” McCracken says. “You know how Facebook reunites people so much? I reunited with somebody who was my friend until I was 5. He was like, ‘Wow, you’re playing music for a living.’ He said it wasn’t surprising at all because all I talked about back then was how I wanted to do it.”

. . .    . . .    . . .

Read the full article at gotriad.news-record.com

Tara Nevins also interviewed for the Blind Tiger show. She spoke with Laura Graff from the Winston-Salem Journal. Here is a bit of the article:

Photo by Lewis Tezak Jr

Donna the Buffalo’s music belongs on the festival circuit — it’s an engaging mix of roots, bluegrass, reggae, country and New Orleans-inspired zydeco. . .

. . .     . . .    . . .

“We just come from a base of traditional music,” said Tara Nevins, one of the band’s original members. Nevins formed the band with Jeb Puryear, and both play old-time fiddle.

“Over the years of playing fiddle music, we discovered other traditional music,” Nevins said. “We don’t do it on purpose, it’s just that we have a lot of music that we’ve been involved in over the years and that we love.”

Nevins, who started out playing the fiddle, bought an accordion about 20 years ago.

“That gave us a Louisiana flavor to our songs,” she said. “We just have a lot of musical influences, because of some of the different instruments we play, those flavors come out in our music.”

. . .    . . .    . . .

Nevins just finished work on a solo album, “Wood and Stone,” which will be released on Sugar Hill in April.”Wood and Stone” is her second solo album. The last, “Mule to Ride,” showcased the fiddle and was, Nevins said, more “old-time bluegrass.” This new album, she said, showcases her songwriting.

“I’ve written pretty much everything on the record,” Nevins said. “It’s not all about the fiddle the way the first one was.”

She said the band is planning to return to the studio in late February to work on a new album.

“It’s going to be a collaboration,” Nevins said. “We’re inviting other artists that we’ve played at with festivals over the years — artists we admire.”

Read the full article at www2.journalnow.com

On Saturday, the band jumps on the bus over to Asheville to play the Orange Peel. The Mountain Xpress wrote a nice little blurb about the show and some of DtB’s Asheville connections:

Kyle Spark. Photo by Lewis Tezak Jr.

For years, upstate N.Y.-based, self-desribed “Cajun/ zydeco, rock, folk, reggae and country” band Donna the Buffalo has long had an Asheville connection through it’s bassist. First it was Bill Reynolds (Band of Horses) then Jay Sanders (Acoustic Syndicate). Now DTB has Massachusetts bassist Kyle Spark but the group (who has toured for 21 years) still makes its semi-annual trek South (DTB is likely to pop up at regional warm-weather festivals). . .

Read the original post at: mountainx.com

Great weekend in store. We hope to see lots of the Herd around for these SouthEast shows!



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Tad Dickens did a GREAT interview with Tara Nevins to help promote their show coming up Thursday, Jan 20th at Awful Arthurs in Roanoke. Be sure to clikc the link to listen to a wonderful 30 minute podcast interview with Nevins. Here are some excerepts of the written piece:

Donna The Buffalo has loyal Herd of fans

Donna The Buffalo hits the stage Thursday at Awful Arthur’s at Towers in Roanoke.

By Tad Dickens | The Roanoke Times

Donna the Buffalo

When Donna The Buffalo takes the stage, folks from all over show up to see and hear.

The American roots music band, which plays Awful Arthur’s at Towers Shopping Center in Roanoke on Thursday, just wrapped up a run of shows through Florida. When Donna The Buffalo singer and multi-instrumentalist Tara Nevins looked out at the crowd during a Jan. 5 set in Jacksonville, she saw people she recognized from shows all over the country. She said the band’s merchandise guy counted fans from 13 states, in addition to all the Jacksonville-area fans who showed up.

“It’s a great feeling to promote such a feeling of community, like you’re really part of something that’s happening, like a movement or a positive force,” said Nevins, who with guitarist/singer Jeb Puryear is the band’s creative core.

“All those people that come and follow you and you recognize them and you become friends with them — you’re all moving along for the same purpose. It is powerful. It’s very powerful, actually.”

Podcast With Tara Nevins of Donna The Buffalo

The Herd

Read the Herd conversation here.

New music

It’s been two and a half years since Donna The Buffalo released a record. That disc, “Silverlined,” was part of the band’s 20th anniversary celebration. The band played FloydFest just after the CD came out in July 2008.

Donna is preparing to record a new album in the next couple of months. It will be the band’s “greatest guests record,” Nevins said. The idea sprang from the band’s annual closing set at the festival it helped create, Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance, held in Trumansburg, N.Y. The band likes to bring up whatever musicians are still around by the time the festival is winding down.

“We’ve formed so many great relationships like that over the years, and we also have our musicians that we’ve always loved to play with or collaborate with but haven’t yet,” said Nevins, who declined to identify the musical guests.

Nevins has also finished recording her own new album at Levon Helm Studios, in Woodstock, N.Y. Larry Campbell, seen at FloydFest performing with Helm, is the producer. Helm played drums on two cuts, Nevins said. She said she had a “wonderful experience” working with both musicians.

“It was awesome just to get to hang out with [Helm] and get to know him a little,” she said. “He’s a fantastic person and a soulful, soulful musician.”

And the circle grows.

 

 

 

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Donna the Buffalo has a great weekend in store! This Friday, Nov 19th they play the Tralf in Buffalo and then on Saturday they head over to the Oneonta Theatre on Saturday 11/20 for a show with Sim Redmond Band!

Here are a few excerpts from articles for the weekend:

Have You Herd? : Donna the Buffalo Stampedes Tralf

By Erin McNeil

http://www.buffalorising.com/2010/11/have-you-herd-donna-the-buffalo-stampedes-tralf.html

DtB photo by Jim Gevenus

Originating in Trumansburg, NY in 1989, Donna the Buffalo rove the Midwest and Eastern seaboard as one of the few touring roots bands.  The Herd, their self-proclaimed fan base, loyally trails the band as they market their rather eclectic styling.  Eclectic may be an understatement for this ensemble, as their sound is a hybrid of mountain music pervaded with Cajun/zydeco, folk-rock, country-rock, Reggae, and bluegrass.

Donna the Buffalo has not only been successful with their nine album releases, with their latest, Silverlined in 2008, rising to the number eight spot on the Americana Music Chart, but they have made great contributes to the music and arts world.  Donna the Buffalo is the founder and host band of the Finger Lakes Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance in Trumansburg, NY.  Due to the sensation of this event, the group helped create the bi-annual Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival in Silk Hope, NC.  Avengers in the grassroots genre, Donna the Buffalo also headlines at the Great Blue Heron Music Festival in Sherman, NY and every fall, are a contributing band to the Magnolia Festival in Live Oaks, FL.  The group also made an appearance in Dave Sale and Bud Selig’s documentary, “On the Bus”.  Their diverse music will also be featured in surrealist artist Yanni Osmond and his partner Spanky the Women Tamer’s upcoming cartoon, “Living Evil”…

Donna the Buffalo is true to their home-grown roots, however, they incorporate a modern zest.  Their barefoot-in-the-grass, feel good, poetic music filters through the heart and soul and thus expands the mind.  Nevins and Puryear’s vocal capabilities are true to the folk art genre, painting a beautiful, spiritual image in the mind.  Their musicality and brilliant use of both traditional and nontraditional instrumentation brings to life the roots of music with the roots of mankind and nature.  It has the warmth of that freedom of driving down an open country road, wind blowing through your hair and fingers, sun gracing your face, fresh air filling your lungs and the sight of nature untainted.  Thus it is much like the phenomenon of ‘loud silence’.

They stay true to themselves, while they continue to evolve in their art.  Their music defines the idea that past meets present, and in turn, contributes to the future with spiritual, deep thought entertainment.  They provide amusement that manages to bring attention to and engage all your senses in response to their meaningful reflections to life and love.

Read the full post here.

and here is another one posted in Art Voice.

Featured Events: See You There! Donna the Buffalo

by Alan Victor

Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins. Photo by John D Kurc

Donna the Buffalo is not from the city of Buffalo, but the fan base here is so large you’d think they were. Maybe it’s the power of suggestion stemming from the name, but it’s more likely due to Western New York’s penchant for this kind of music—the socially conscious, grassroots jam band stuff that has made groups like .moe, Phish, and Donna so well-loved…

That was 20 or so years ago, and since then they’ve gathered a devoted following known as “the Herd.” Founding members of the Finger Lakes Grassroots Music Festival, Donna the Buffalo is also a co-headliner at the great Blue Heron every year as well as at many other weekend festivals through the midwest and all along the east coast…

Read morehttp://artvoice.com/issues/v9n46/syt#ixzz15f4EuPoM

 

 

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