Donna The Buffalo
Distinctive, groove-heavy, and danceable, Donna the Buffalo is a band for the people
One of the most dynamic and determined bands continuously touring America for since 1989, Donna the Buffalo has created a community environment at their shows through their distinctive, groove-heavy, and danceable music. Donna the Buffalo is a band for the people that is accessible, positive, and memorable. With roots in old time fiddle music that evolved into a soulful electric American mix infused with elements of cajun/ zydeco, rock, folk, reggae, and country, Donna’s music often contains social and moral responsibility as core beliefs, and they are just simply fun to get out and celebrate life with.
“For the dizzying array of styles and genres with which they work, Donna The Buffalo maintain a surprising level of consistency… over the course of their 25-year career, they retain a sharp focus that has helped them create some truly lasting music…” writes Elmore. “Few groups are this comfortable as performers, and even fewer would take as many risks.”
Donna the Buffalo is Jeb Puryear (vocals, electric guitar) and Tara Nevins (vocals, guitar, fiddle, accordion, scrubboard) joined by David McCracken (Hammond organ, Honer 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.”
“You have to do just what you want to do, and everyone likes different things,” Nevins says. “Both Jeb and I come from this background of old-time fiddle music, which is very natural, very real, very under-produced, and all about coming from the gut—flying by the seat of your pants. So we have that in us, too.”
The band has released ten albums and are affiliated with several others, including 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 (both on Sugar Hill) did well on the Americana Music Chart, each placing well into the top ten. In 2011 Nevins released Wood and Stone, produced by Larry Campbell in Levon Helm Studios, and Mule to Ride in 1999 on Sugar Hill Records.
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.”
This type of bond is what Donna the Buffalo’s fans, self-titled The Herd, connect to and why they travel around to see them at shows and festivals throughout the year, including a family of GrassRoots Festivals that DtB started and is still the driving force behind.