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Donna the Buffalo with Western Centuries – $35/40

December 31, 2018 @ 8:00 pm

$35 – $40

8pm $35/40

Donna the Buffalo 

Donna the Buffalo offers everything you want in a roots band — songs that matter, a groove that makes you dance, an audience that spans generations, and a musical voice that evokes a sense of community.

Dance in the Street, their first new album in five years, captures the dynamic energy that has earned the band the love and respect of their fans, “the Herd”, for thirty years.

Donna The Buffalo is well known for their lyrics about human potential and community. Throughout Dance in the Street, Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins, the band’s co-founders, share songs of social commentary and self empowerment. “We feel the album provides an enjoyable ride between the general and the personal, from both male and female perspectives,” says Puryear. Puryear took it upon himself to write a topical song after a friend slyly commented, “We could use some songs like you used to write.” That off-handed remark led directly to “Dance in the Street,” which falls somewhere between Bob Dylan and Bob Marley, with lyrics:

For change of rule, we had better stand,

Before there’s nowhere left to land,

Doomed to histories repeat,

It’s time to dance in the street.

Nevins adapted the imagery in the lyrics from “Dance in the Street” to create the globally-inspired album cover.  “My songs on this record are about letting go,” says Nevins. “Whether it be the attachment of love lost, the past, or the particular blue funk you’re coming out of.”   Nevins in particular adds an interesting twist of “creating future” in Motor, the inspired second cut of the album with the chorus:

You’ll be dancing under the moon before too long,

You’ll be flying high as a kite when the wind gets blowing,

You’ll be right back where you started,

You’ll be holding tight to the motor that gets you going.

Donna the Buffalo joined forces with legendary Producer/ Engineer Rob Fraboni to record Dance in the Street at Sonic Ranch Studio in El Paso, Texas.  Best known as producer of The Last Waltz soundtrack, Fraboni is also acclaimed for his work with Bob Dylan, The Band, Eric Clapton, and The Rolling Stones.  Fraboni set out to capture the essence of Donna The Buffalo’s live performances on a studio record. He had the band record in a circle directly to tape. Dance In The Street is a fully analog recording all the way to vinyl. The track list alternates in his-and-hers fashion; even so, Nevins believes the album makes a cohesive statement. “We think of it as painting a picture and I like the picture that we’ve painted with this record,” she says.

Nevins and Puryear have nurtured a close friendship after meeting at an old-time fiddle convention years ago.  In 1989 they landed their first gig in a Trumansburg, NY restaurant setting Puryear and Nevins on their musical path.  During that time, Puryear took note of Nevins’ songwriting ability – “the first person I met that wrote songs that sounded like you could hear them on the radio”.  While they mostly write separately, their music is often on the same wavelength.“ Our history is so long and very successful musically,” he says. “She’s my best friend – we’ve done this forever. It’s a big part of what makes it still interesting to do. We definitely have a good, rough-and-tumble, super-longstanding respect and love.”

Donna The Buffalo is not just a band, rather one might say that Donna The Buffalo has become a lifestyle for its members and audiences. The band has played thousands of shows and countless festivals including Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Festival, Telluride, Austin City Limits Festival, Merle Fest, and Philadelphia Folk Festival.  At several festivals Donna The Buffalo has become the house band for closing the events by backing up artists including The Avett Brothers, Keller Williams, Zac Brown, Bela Fleck, John Paul Jones, and Chris Thile. They’ve opened for The Dead and have toured with Peter Rowan, Del McCoury, Los Lobos, Little Feat, Jim Lauderdale, Rusted Root, and Railroad Earth to name a few. They also toured with Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen to help raise awareness about increased corporate spending in politics.  In 1991, the band started the Finger Lakes Grassroots Festival in Trumansburg, NY. The four day festival has become an annual destination for over 15,000 music lovers every year and was started as an AIDS benefit. It continues as a benefit for arts and education. To date, the event has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and is now one of three Grassroots Festivals; the Bi-annual Shakori Hills fest in North Carolina and Virginia Key festival in Florida. In 2016 GrassRoots Culture Camp was introduced in Trumansburg, New York as four days of music, art, dance and movement workshops, including nightly dinners and dances.

“Successes? We have certainly tried to make a difference in the world, trying to inspire ourselves and others to treat their lives as a work of art, and our collective destiny as something that we are creating, not just something we are subject to.  And at the same time we’re having a blast, who wouldn’t want to ride around on a bus playing music with their friends?” Puryear added.

The most loyal fans in the Herd are always eager to accept a call to action. Last year Donna the Buffalo started a crowdfunding campaign to buy a new tour bus; within three weeks, they had raised $90,000.  “You can imagine how validating that felt for us,” Nevins says, still overwhelmed at the generosity.

By creating a bridge between generations, Donna the Buffalo attracts one of the broadest demographics on the festival circuit.  When Nevins encounters young women in the autograph line, she likes to write “Girl Power!” She’s proud to see them looking up at the stage and watching a female musician really getting down, comprehending that they could do the same thing one day.   In addition, Puryear has noted that Vietnam veterans have gravitated to the band. During a songwriting workshop, Puryear sang “Killing A Man,” which examines the complicated psychological ramifications of ending another person’s life. He felt uncertain about recording it, he says, until a veteran came up and asked him how he got those emotions exactly right.

Dance In The Street closes with “I Believe,” a song with a message of support. From the stage, Nevins often hears men and women singing it with her.  “I think our message is encouraging. It’s something for people to latch onto,” she says. “And what an awesome sound and feeling to hear an audience en masse singing your song with you.”

Donna the Buffalo draws on a lot of musical influences, from country and rock ‘n’ roll, to bluegrass and old-time fiddle, as well as Cajun and Zydeco.  In many ways, they were Americana before the term was ever coined. The common thread? Songs of the human spirit, and an incredibly tight relationship with their fans.

“The fans, they show up to be a part of it. We show up to be a part of it,” Puryear says. “And we don’t have an intimidating vibe where we’re different than them.  If a scene is really on, it doesn’t matter whether you’re watching, listening, dancing, or playing – it’s on, everybody knows it’s on and it feels great! I think that’s the nature of the connection.” https://donnathebuffalo.com

with Western Centuries  When did country music start to sound the same? The first generation of country artists borrowed from everything around them: Appalachian stringband music, Texas fiddle traditions, cowboy songs, Delta blues. In an era of unprecedented access to our musical pasts, shouldn’t country music be even more diverse than it was in its infancy? Honky-tonk supergroup WesternCenturies, back with a new album in 2018, surely understands this. They aren’t bound by any dictum to write songs in a modern country, or even a retro country style; instead they’re taking their own personal influences as three very different songwriters and fusing it into a sound that moves beyond the constraints of country. Part of the reason they can make music with this range of influences is because of their roots in city life. Both Cahalen Morrison and Ethan Lawton, two of the three principal songwriters, live in Seattle’s diverse South end, and the third songwriter, Jim Miller, spends most of his time in and around New York City. The urban landscape is rarely mentioned in country music, but it makes for a refreshing sound that draws as easily from modern R&B as it does George Jones. It helps too that the album was recorded and co-produced by acclaimed musician and Grammy-winning producer Joel Savoy in Eunice, Louisiana, where local Cajun and Creole artists have always been adept at marrying old country sounds with R&B and rock n roll.

With Songs from the Deluge, out April 6, 2018 on Free Dirt Records, Western Centuries brings three songwriting voices together into a more unified sound than ever before. Over the past year of heavy touring (since the release of their last album), they’ve pushed each other hard as songwriters. But with a band this well tested on the road, it’s the sonic and lyrical places where each artist’s styles depart that’s most interesting.

Ethan Lawton, known for his earlier work in Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers, loves to pen imaginative parables about people living at extremes. “Wild You Run” by Lawton tells the story of watching someone you love deteriorate with a crippling addiction. The subject chases his temptation, but loses his soul as Lawton cries out helplessly “I won’t tell mama what you done, go have your fun….” Lawton’s “My Own Private Honky Tonk” is a rambunctious new take on the drinkin’ alone narrative which finds Lawton dancing and playing music until the downstairs neighbors call. It’s a boogie-woogie flavored tune à la Fats Domino that highlights the upright bass work of Nokosee Fields, the band’s newest member. With the opening track, “Far From Home,” Lawton wails “mother, dear mother, won’t you spin a yarn about the way things were.” It’s about the dark days that young men found abroad in Vietnam and the personal wars they had to fight when they returned back home.

Cahalen Morrison, known for his earlier duo work with Eli West, is the country boy to Lawton’s urban cowboy, inspired by his love for cowboy poetry and the New Mexican desert where he grew up. He’s got a knack for bending words around stories until they’re as funny as they are tragic, as fantastic as they are real. His songs grow like mesquite in the desert; they twist and turn. On “Earthly Justice,” Morrison sings of barflys and their troubles, remarking sardonically “if earthly justice just don’t get them in the end, there’s always a heavenly trial on its way” as vocal harmonies and pedal steel two step all around him. On Morrison’s album closer “Warm Guns,” he waxes quixotic about loss in love, singing in Spanish about being a victim of his own flaws.

Jim Miller, known for his earlier work with Donna the Buffalo, is the resident psychedelic poet. Like the best country songwriters, Miller’s sense of communion with nature turns his songs into works of magical realism. On “Wild Birds”, a song about a road-bound band, he consults the moss, befriends the tide, and survives fire all while asking for prayers to guide his band home to the end of their migration. “Borrow Time” features Louisiana accordion legend Roddie Romero, and the album’s best harmonies between the three lead singers. Some of his most beautiful lines happen on “Time Does The Rest” as he sings “Your heart knows what’s best / Hold her close, the lips will confess / Let it rise let it fall, time does the rest”.

Western Centuries’ music crosses vastly differing geographies–the city, the southwest, the metaphysical. And their musical influences are equally as diverse. Together, they weave a tapestry of western music, without sacrificing their hard-earned country dancehall sound. Songs from the Deluge will levitate heavy hearts, turn spilled beer into ballads, and bring country music home as literate, epic odysseys from parts unknown.

Details

Date:
December 31, 2018
Time:
8:00 pm
Cost:
$35 – $40
Event Category:

Organizer

Skipper’s Smokehouse
Phone:
813.971.0666

Venue

Skipper’s Smokehouse
910 Skipper Road Tampa, Florida 33613 813.971.0666
Tampa, FL 33613 United States
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Phone:
813.971.0666