Donna The Buffalo
Donna the Buffalo's feel-good, groove-oriented, danceable and often socially conscious music all began over twenty years ago with roots in old time fiddle music that evolved into a soulful electric Americana mix infused with elements of cajun/ zydeco, rock, folk, reggae, and country. Donna the Buffalo is known for touring the country remaining fiercely independent as one of the industry’s most diverse roots-music bands and has "earned a reputation as one of the most respected, eclectic and hardest-working acts today," praises Encore. "Donna the Buffalo is in the enviable position of being a homegrown entity, a group that finds itself outside the coloring lines of the accepted formula, a formula that is now in the past tense...People doing what they love, and better, sharing that passion to the benefit of the public, is the strongest business formula ever written. Donna the Buffalo is living proof of that." states Beat Magazine. The Nashville Scene writes, "Folkies with a superior sense of rhythm are rare enough, but folkies with a good beat and a healthy disrespect for eclectic clichés are a national treasure....they’ve never sounded better..." The dynamic songwriting tandem of vocalists Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins have penned over 180 songs in their collaboration with DTB and have many more in the making. Although never writing a set list for live show, the Erie Times notes, "they stick to a pattern...usually alternating between Puryear’s rhythmic, Dylan-influenced, guitar-centered songs and Nevins’ breezy, melodic, accordion-driven gems like the folksy Tides of Time and infectious Locket and Key.” As of late, Nevins and Puryear have also been known to perform as a duo on air and on select songs at live shows, which is always enjoyable to the fans to hear their favorite DtB songs in stripped down arrangements. Donna the Buffalo has been working on a 10th album with Puryear on guitar, Nevins on fiddle, guitar, accordion, and scrubboard, keyboardist Dave McCracken, bassist Kyle Spark, and drummer Mark Raudabaugh. Donna the Buffalo has released nine albums and are affiliated with several others, including a Puryear’s 2007 solo album Hopes and Dreams and a 2003 release, Wait Til Spring, with Jim Lauderdale. The band's 2008 release Silverlined, on Sugar Hill, rose to #8 on the Americana Music Chart. Nevins released Wood and Stone, produced by Larry Campbell in the Levon Helm Studios in 2011 on Sugar Hill Records; it was her first solo album since Mule to Ride in 1999. Donna the Buffalo's fervent fan base, self-named The Herd, follows the band with zeal and has created a unique and supportive community online and at DTB shows across the nation. Puryear declares, "The main thing I like to say about The Herd is that you don’t have to do anything to be a member. You just have to like a song." In an interview with The Roanoke Times, Nevins conveys, "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...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.” When asked in an interview with the Weekender in PA what new people should look forward to experiencing at a show, Nevins replied “a really friendly, comfortable crowd, and a real community-oriented, positive experience.” As an extension of this community and the band's own dedication to live roots music, Donna started, and are still the driving force behind, the 20+ year old Finger Lakes Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance in Trumansburg, NY, the bi-annual Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival in Silk Hope, NC and February 2012 marks the first year for the Virginia Key Grassroots Festival in Florida. DtB are regulars at MerleFest (NC), Suwanee Springfest & Magnolia Fest (FL), All Good (WV), Floyd Fest (VA), The Great Blue Heron Festival (PA), Del Fest (MD), Targhee Bluegrass Fest (WY) and a variety of other venues and festivals across the nation. Over the years and through their travels, Donna the Buffalo as a band and its individual members have had the opportunity to play music with and/or record with musicians such as Jim Lauderdale, Preston and Keith Frank, Railroad Earth, Bela Fleck, John Paul Jones, Bill Kreutzmann, The Avett Bothers, Del McCoury, Tim O'Brien, Pete Wernick, Abigail Washburn, Mamadou Diabate, Los Lobo, Rusted Root, Claire Lynch, David Hidalgo, The Duhks and Amy Helm, just to name a few. With over twenty years to celebrate, hundreds of gigs ahead of them, and an ever-evolving grassroots sound; it looks like Donna the Buffalo is riding a cloud that is truly Silverlined.
The four Makepeace Brothers have been called “The Everly Brothers squared” but their catchy harmonies are only part of their appeal. Aidan, Liam, Finian, and Ciaran Makepeace have gained world-wide attention because their songs move people to think, feel, and dance, with lyrics that are both witty and poignant, and which spread the message embodied in their surname – “make peace”.
Growing up in the vibrant music community of Ithaca, New York the brothers were exposed to all musical genres but their commitment to a life of music began during a year-long odyssey with their parents in a small Winnebago motorhome. That tour of the US gave them first hand experience with American Roots music and the musicians who play it, and that inspired the boys to begin writing and performing their own songs.
The brothers’ musical horizons were broadened further at Summer music festivals where they heard all forms of World Roots music, and from their own travels abroad when they lived in Costa Rica, Brazil, and England, immersing themselves in the music and rhythms of those cultures. After years of solo and ensemble projects, in 2007 the boys finally came together again to combine their musical visions and to create the unique sound of The Makepeace Brothers. Now, after release of two self-produced albums, and national tours with Grammy Award winner Jason Mraz, The Makepeace Brothers have a dedicated international fan-base that not only dances to their music but believes in their message as well.
The Makepeace Brothers band, which has always included longtime friend Conor Gaffney on bass, now incorporates various drummers and other accompanists, and their sound has evolved from an acoustic coffeehouse vibe into a full-throated stage band. Consequently, The Makepeace Brothers have been booking larger and larger shows, and the best is yet to come for this upbeat, uptempo, and politically conscious band of Brothers because their sweet harmonies and sincere, life-long message of peace, love, and justice are exactly what the world wants to hear right now.