Editors' pick

Donna the Buffalo


Editorial Review

Donna the Buffalo keeps up with tradition

The band hones its Americana/roots-rock sound on its 10th studio album, “Tonight, Tomorrow, and Yesterday.”

"Silverlined," the latest in a string of remarkable recordings by Donna the Buffalo, underscores how the quintet's insistence on controlling its artistic direction has paid off. "As people, we're on the more do-it-yourself side," says guitarist and co-founder Jeb Puryear in an interview.

While 1970s country rock has melded into the formulaic sounds of today's CMT, Donna has been part of the return to roots music, combining bluegrass, country, rock, reggae, Cajun and zydeco.

"Silverlined" makes you want to dance, sing, smooch and reflect.

Puryear and co-founder/vocalist Tara Nevins form a formidable, and complementary, duo. Puryear's precise, imagistic, brooding and socially conscious tunes work well with his understated vocals and carefully modulated guitar playing. Nevins's highly melodic up-tempo songs are graceful and sensuous. Her voice brims with energy as she bounces between fiddle, accordion, guitar and washboard.

On "The Call" Puryear observes, "It's the eternal sadness from the great beyond/Everything's coming, Everything's gone." On "I Don't Need a Riddle" Nevins croons, "Don't want to understand/I don't need a riddle, just be my man."

Donna the Buffalo has honed its horns on the music festival scene for nearly two decades. Puryear's delight at headlining the State Theatre Inauguration Night Bash is evident. "Most of the best things are about community," he says. "The coolest phenomenon is reaching the magical point of a show when everyone there, whether you're playing the guitar or are in the audience, all come together. . . . That chemistry, it's a beautiful thing."

"Silverlined" reveals what Donna's devotees (the self-described Herd) have known for years: Donna the Buffalo is one of the best bands in the land.

--Earnest Suarez, Weekend (Jan. 2009)