As MerleFest 2018 approaches, a highlight from one of the 100+ performing acts will be featured daily…
Donna the Buffalo is joining forces with legendary Producer/ Engineer Rob Fraboni to record their next album February 2018 at Sonic Ranch in El Paso, TX. It is the world’s largest residential recording studio and is built around an 80-year-old hacienda and 3,300 acre pecan orchard right along the Mexican border.
Fraboni is well known for his work with Bob Dylan, The Band, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Tim Hardin, The Beach Boys, Joe Cocker, and Bonnie Raitt, and as Vice President at Island Records where he oversaw the remastering of the entire Bob Marley catalog. He produced the soundtrack on Martin Scorsese’s groundbreaking concert movie, The Last Waltz, which included an all-star cast of famous rock and roll performers. He built and designed the legendary Shangri-La studios in Malibu to the specification of Bob Dylan and the Band and is referred to as a “genius” by Keith Richards in his bestselling autobiography Life.
Donna the Buffalo’s fanbase, The Herd, will be excited to hear this news since their most recent album, Tonight, Tomorrow and Yesterday, came out nearly five years ago in the spring of 2013. All Music Guide says of it, “This is what 21st century Americana sounds like, a little bit of this and that from anywhere wrapped up into a poignant, jamming dance reel, a place where the past and history meet easily in the immediate now and everybody feels like dancing.”
Known as one of the most dynamic and determined bands continuously touring America since 1989, The Erie Times says, “They craft spirit-soaring songs with distinct sensibilities: Nevins’ songs are unfailingly melodic, brisk and buoyant, powered by her reassuring, wisdom-soaked vocals and ever-present fiddle and accordion. Puryear’s songs accentuate the groove, his exceptional guitar work and sly, Dylan-like way with lyrics.”
New Haven Register expands upon this to say, “Donna the Buffalo knows a thing or two about rhythm. Cajun, zydeco and old-time rhythms. A bit of reggae rhythm. Various guitar and fiddle rhythms. The rhythm of traveling by bus year after year for more than a quarter-century now, criss-crossing America… over and over again.”
Donna the Buffalo is Jeb Puryear (vocals, electric guitar) and Tara Nevins (vocals, fiddle, guitar, accordion, scrubboard) joined by David McCracken (B3 Hammond organ, Hohner Clavinet & piano), Kyle Spark (bass) and Mark Raudabaugh (drums). “It’s been really fun with this lineup,” Puryear says. “You get to the point where you’re playing on a really high level, things are clicking and it’s like turning on the key to a really good car. It just goes.”
Donna the Buffalo drew it’s original inspiration from a cherished part of the American heritage: the old-time music festivals of the south that drew entire towns and counties together. Not only was it playing music at these events, it was the vibe and the togetherness that bonded the people that attended.
“Those festivals were so explosive, and the community and the feeling of people being with each other, that’s the feeling we were shooting for in our music.” Puryear says, “Donna the Buffalo is an extension of the joy we’ve found.”
“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…” Nevins says. “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.”
Donna the Buffalo has released ten albums and are affiliated with several others including two solo albums from Nevins: 2011’s Wood and Stone (produced by Larry Campbell in Levon Helm Studios) and Mule to Ride in 1999, Puryear’s 2007 solo album Hopes and Dreams, and a 2003 release, Wait Til Spring, with Jim Lauderdale. The band’s 2008 release, Silverlined, as well as the 2013 release, Tonight, Tomorrow and Yesterday, (both on Sugar Hill Records) did well on the Americana Music Chart, each placing well into the top ten.
“Though it will always be hard to pinpoint the key to an act’s staying power, distinctiveness and consistency surely can’t hurt.” Pittsburgh City Paper says, “Donna the Buffalo has carved out a niche; it has weathered trends, and even made some of its own by being unapologetically itself.”
Bio provided courtesy of www.donnathebuffalo.com
Donna the Buffalo is performing all weekend during MerleFest (April 26-29) so make sure you see them at one of the following locations.
Thursday, 9:45pm-11:00pm (Dance Stage)
Friday, 4:00pm-4:45pm (Hillside Stage)
Saturday, 2:00pm-2:45pm (Walker Center)
Saturday, 3:15pm-4:00pm (Walker Center)
Sunday, 11:30am-12:15pm (Americana Stage)
View the full MerleFest schedule and stage lineup here.