Posts Tagged ‘Wilmington’

Donna the Buffalo is playing the Soapbox in Wilmington this Saturday, May 8th after a stop into the Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF) on Friday. Check out this great interview with Tara Nevins and Encore Magazine for their May cover story:

Roots Music to Be Reckoned with:

Donna the Buffalo play Soapbox Laundro Lounge on Saturday

By: Adrian Varnam – May 4th, 2010  Encore

For over two decades, Donna the Buffalo has performed all over the country as one of the industry’s most diverse roots-music bands. With a traditional mountain-music core, infused with elements of zydeco, folk, rock, country and even reggae, the band has earned a reputation as one of the most respected, eclectic and hardest-working acts today. With a rabid fanbase (they call themselves “The Herd”), and a schedule that has them performing 10 months out of every year, Donna the Buffalo continues to grow their reach in an ever-assorted musical landscape.

Recently, encore caught up with founding member and multi-instrumentalist Tara Nevins via phone as she drove to meet up with her band at Merlefest, a traditional roots-music festival held every year in Wilkesboro, NC.

encore: What’s Merlefest like as a performer?
Tara Nevins: It’s exciting, and it’s great exposure. . . . It’s as equally exciting playing there as it is just being there. You sort of run into all these musicians that you know that you have camaraderie with, and there’s lots of mixing and matching—a lot of bands sit in with each other. It’s really fun playing with different musicians in an untraditional way. It’s a good vibe, and we’ve always had a really good time.

e: Donna the Buffalo seems to be a perfect poster child for Merlefest—a conglomerate of different styles that form one cohesive unit. How do you go about incorporating various genres into your signature sound?
TN: We don’t try to play different styles of music on purpose. In general, the types of instruments we play lend themselves to that. In the band I play a Louisiana-style of accordion, fiddle, washboard and guitar. So, if I decide to play accordion on a song, it gives it that flavor, or if I play fiddle, there’s another flavor. [Guitarist] Jeb [Puryear] and I both bring songs to the band, and the band just plays the song, and whatever comes out, comes out. It’s nothing like, “Let’s make this one ‘zydeco-ish’ or this one ‘country-ish.’” We never think that way. It’s more like, “Here’s a new song,” and however we play it, we play it. It’s nothing premeditated.

e: Is there a certain style of music that especially resonates with you personally?
TN: Not really. I like traditional fiddle music. I think the core of what Jeb and I do, and what brought us together in what we do in Donna the Buffalo, is old-time fiddle music. But I love Creole music, too. I like what’s good, I think. Jeb and I both have a traditional-music backgrounds, but it mixed with whatever we experienced growing up in the world, whether it be the Beatles or Sheryl Crow or George Jones.

e: How did you become exposed to traditional music like fiddle or zydeco?
TN: I heard traditional fiddle music when I was 18—in school. . . . I got into it on my own and started traveling south, to the mountain areas of North Carolina, Virginia, to the fiddle festivals, and it just grew from there. One year I traveled to Lafayette, Louisiana, to a traditional Mardi Gras festival, and fell in love with the music.

e: Donna the Buffalo has been a band now for over 20 years. How have you all evolved and grown during that time?
TN: As far as the band is concerned, we’ve had many personnel changes—different drummers, different bass players. Jeb and I are the only two original members of the band. Considering that we’ve had so many changes, I think we’ve been pretty good at maintaining a certain thread in our sound and in our music. I just think we keep getting better and better at what we do.

Certain people bring different things to the band, of course, but it all comes together in our signature sound, which is breakthrough-oriented, very groove-oriented, very adaptable, very dance-able. . . . Our songs have evolved some over the years, too. We started out a little more universally socio-political —not heavily political, just more like social commentary. We’ve gone through a few changes the past couple of years; some songs have gotten a little more personal. We’ve definitely grown and evolved.

e: What’s the impetus for the change in themes?
TN: Art always changes—It shapes and flows in different directions. It’s nothing on purpose, it’s whatever your life is bringing you that you write about. I mean, the socio-political may filter back in. It’s art, you know? You paint one painting one day, and then another painting another day, and it’s just whatever you’re feeling or going through at the time. It’s hard to really comment exactly on the timeline, it’s just that different subject matter comes and goes. It’s dynamic and it’s life.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.encorepub.com/articles.php?i=read&article_id=84&section_id=1

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by John Staton

Star News in Wilmington, NC

First of all, they’re not that kind of Tea Party. Second of all, one of these days I’ll write a feature about this awesome Asheville duo – Ami Worthen (vocals, ukulele, guitar) and Jason Krekel (vocals, guitar, fiddle, foot drums), pictured at top– that’s bringing songs from its new album “Zombie Boogie” to town. The title track is a uke-driven rockabilly tune about a teenybopper who’s devoured by a zombie. “You Really Spooked Me” is a garage rock screamer with more than a lotta soul. Sounds like it’s party time. Details: 9 p.m. (doors) Saturday, 255 N. Front St. (ground floor), downtown Wilmington. With Sarah Blacker. $7. www.TheMadTeaParty.com or www.MySpace.com/TheMadTeaParty

Asheville garage/surf/rockabilly band Mad Tea Party plays the Soapbox Saturday, Oct. 24.

Asheville garage/surf/rockabilly band Mad Tea Party plays the Soapbox Saturday, Oct. 24.

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by Brian Tucker

Bootleg Magazine- Wilmington, NC

skullsq2A band known for playing uke-abilly is unique in itself, but Asheville’s Mad Tea Party continue to impress with their lively retro sound in releasing a 33 rpm 7-inch vinyl of Halloween themed rock music built on rockabilly and ukulele flavors. Zombie Boogie is two originals and two obscure covers, all of them spooky and flat out rockin’ songs (the vinyl has a download code plus bonus track) inside a hand crafted letter-pressed sleeve.

Recording a Halloween album is a fun thing for them to do in this day and age. The duo’s music is a smart fit – its fun, electrified and moves like a high speed chase. ‘Spook Me’ features back and forth guitar riffs, the vibe akin to walking through Louisiana swampland in the dark. Singer Jason Krekel’s howling is reminiscent of the original ‘You Put a Spell on me’ if sung by Trent Reznor. The instrumental ‘Cemetery Stomp’ opens with a bluesy riff that quickly turns into Carl Perkins at a higher rpm and additional horn playing makes it more festive. ‘What’s the Matter’ is hard driving and Ami Worthen’s nasal and sugar coated vocals     propel tongue-in-cheek lyrics like “Baby when I die please don’t wear no black”

At Halloween parties and front doors themed music is usually playing and Zombie Boogie is a fitting addition. Its fifties feel with an edge is fitting for the holiday and the only shortcoming might be that it’s just a handful of songs. Given the spirited quality of Zombie Boogie it begs the question of whether Mad Tea Party will put together a Christmas collection of songs.

-Brian Tucker

Mad Tea Party will be performing at the Soapbox in Wilmington on Saturday, October 24th as an EP release party for Zombie Boogie.

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By M. K. Barnes

UNLIKE MOST MUSICIANS who pick up and fiddle with a guitar or bass sometime in their teenage years, Larry Keel was submerged in the bluegrass culture from the moment he left the womb.

Larry Keel As soon as he was old enough his brother and father — both talented musicians — began teaching him the basics: timing, rhythm, and of course how to tune a guitar. From there Keel began to educate himself in classical bluegrass music — finding the aspects he respected from each musician and fine-tuning it, so that it would complement his developing style.

By the time he was 18 he was contracted through the Disney Corporation to play at Disneyland in Tokyo. “I had a friend that was living in Orlando, FL, that had answered an ad in the newspaper for Musicians Wanted and he asked me to come down and do an audition for Disneyland,” Keel explains. “We were contracted and hired as a bluegrass band.”

While many of his peers attended college or worked at local stores in his hometown, Keel played six shows a day, six days a week, proving that he had more than just talent. Although the job was demanding, especially on a teenager, Keel managed to blossom and fine-tune his music with the elements of the Japanese culture to which he was exposed.

“I spent a lot of time seeing the sights over there — the temples and the whole countryside and meeting a lot of the people … I watched a lot of Japanese movies and heard their music and style. It slowly drifts into you, and the whole picture influences everything.”

After returning home from Japan, Keel began to tour the United States with various bluegrass bands, playing at popular festivals such as the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, where he won first place in its highly competitive guitar competition. Even though he was younger than most of the people with whom he played, Keel didn’t allow himself to become arrogant. With every person he met and every song he played he attempted to learn something new. Before the age of 20 he realized something most musicians spend a lifetime learning: There is always someone better, and there is always something new to learn.

With this in mind, Keel began to compose many of the original songs that he is known for today, while still allowing himself to cover traditional songs with a slightly different twist. “I definitely try to pay tribute to the songwriter and musicians that have come before me when performing their songs. But at the same time I feel like they were being original when they wrote the songs, and I feel like it’s my duty to write music, too, instead of just covering,” Keel clarifies.

However, Keel didn’t stop with simply making music. Recently he has moved to the big screen, composing two songs on the set of the movie The Man They Couldn’t Hang, where he also plays the role of the prison warden. “We actually did write the music for the parts on the spot; we were in an old, haunted prison and we were doing a scene about a warden getting ready to have a hanging that morning, and we had to create a somber, scary sort of feeling — we called it the Jail House Waltz.”

Even with his success, Keel has still managed to stay true to his bluegrass roots, offering his listeners the unaltered sound of the mountains. “I know every time I play my music or recorded it, that my music is very real and it is exactly the way it’s played. It’s not a bunch of manufactured, commercial music that you hear so much of — my music is very real and from the soul.”
Larry Keel and Natural Bridge will be playing at The Soap Box on Thursday, August 6th. http://www.larrykeel.com

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