Donna the Buffalo’s Rockin’ in the Weary Land

0GtLG0ndPOUxrrWIHMULzk42xB2hVkuVChris Woods penned this review.

Wow! What an incredible debut album from this New York based six piece band. It’s not often I play a CD by a band I have never heard of and am captivated within seconds. Plenty of energy and power coupled with excellent melodies, interesting rhythms and catchy musical arrangements. Neither does it have the saccharine sweet and over-polished production that emasculates many American studio albums. It has emotion and feelings left intact without being too raw listen to comfortably.

Trying to describe it is rather less straightforward. Every track is recognizable as the Buffalo and fits into the album but each is quite different, there is no narrow pigeon hole for this album. There is a definite Cajun influence in the background of much of the album, most of it could be danced to, but some tracks remind me of the Velvet Underground. Maybe that’s because Jeb Puryear has a New York accent and the instrumental style,especially some guitar parts and the keyboards, have a slightly retro 60’s feel? An excellent compromise because it’s possible to relate to the music instantly while at the same time this is a very original sounding 90’s band. Probably very close to being native American folk-rock, which is a rarity as most american folk rock relies on celtic music for it’s base.

The vocals are mostly shared between Tara Nevins, who also plays accordion,electric fiddle acoustic guitar, rub board and tambourine and Jeb Puryear, who also plays electric guitar. Jim Miller, electric and acoustic guitars, gets a vocal outing on track 10, the gentle ballad ‘Life is Strange’ and Joe Thrift,who plays various keyboards, gets the vocal spot on a superb version of ‘Seminole Wind’, one of the few tracks on the album not written by the band. Jed Greenberg on bass gets to sing some harmony and Tom Gilbert is kept busy on drums. Any of the four who take vocal leads are as good as many full time vocalists, giving the band a rare strength and variety, helped along by the number of instruments superbly played by the members of the band.

I have played this CD to my friends at every opportunity, so far everyone who has heard it has liked it, what more can I say! 

(Sugar Hill, 1998)


Diverse Voices

Diverse Voices is our catch-all for writers and other staffers who did but a few reviews or other writings for us. They are credited at the beginning of the actual writing if we know who they are which we don't always. It also includes material by writers that first appeared in the Sleeping Hedgehog, our in-house newsletter for staff and readers here. Some material is drawn from Folk Tales, Mostly Folk and Roots & Branches, three other publications we've done.

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