Donna The Buffalo: Silverlined

By: Brian Robbins

Don't expect any surprises out of Donna The Buffalo's new disc, Silverlined (Sugar Hill). Just expect to be tickled with a nice serving of front-porch music. Celebrating their 20th anniversary, DTB offers up the sort of musical stew they mastered years ago.

Don't get me wrong; there's nothing boring here, folks, not at all. The worst thing you can say is, "Jeez, that song sounds familiar" on the first pass through the album, and there's not a thing wrong with that. By the second time through, you're trying to sing along with Donna The Buffalo tunes you hardly know … or do you?

No spacey jams or long groove chugs here, DTB gets in and out in just under 48 minutes with thirteen songs written by one or the other of the group's two original Buffalos, Tara Nevins (vocals, fiddle, accordion, acoustic guitar, scrub board) or Jeb Puryear (vocals, electric guitar – and for the first time on a studio album – pedal steel). However, you can easily spot the places that'll be jump-offs for stretching things out in a live setting.

Nevins can sing a song about heartbreak (take the lead-off track, "Temporary Misery," for example) and give it such an upbeat delivery that you might miss the pain within – in this case, backed by a quasi-reggae beat. Other neat Nevins moments include "Locket And Key" (doesn't hurt to have buds like Bela Fleck hang out with his banjo) and "Broken Record," with its driving acoustic guitar rhythm and intimations of what could be a wicked Strat and fiddle jam on a concert stage. Elsewhere, David Hidalgo (Los Lobos) backs Nevins with some sweet harmonies on the title track.

While Nevins is a cool mix of sweet and tough, Puryear is like the gas station attendant who leans in your window while your tank's filling and casually tells you his life story – only not so creepy. No rock star/guitar god posturing here, ol' Jeb's just the real thing. "Tomorrow Still Knows" is a typical example of his monotone soul, and by virtue of the studio setting, Puryear on Strat gets to duet with himself on pedal steel. "The Call" lays Puryear's life and philosophy wide open in less than four minutes (Amy Helm provides background vocals) with another 60 seconds' worth of beautifully clean no-gimmicks Strat weaving with an acoustic piano to wrap it up.

There's serious stuff here, but Donna The Buffalo never lets it get too heavy, and by the time the rollicking album closer "Forty Days And Forty Nights" is over, you're cool with the album playing ‘round again - so you can sing-along this time.

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[Published on: 9/18/08]

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johnnygoff starstarstarstar Thu 9/18/2008 10:55AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Donna sounded the best I've heard them in years, this year @ their homecoming of sorts @ Grassroots in Trumansburg, NY. Wow! They had some 'sap', but a whole lotta funk-grass!

damn, they are hot people. do not miss in a town near you!

Lightenupyourload Thu 9/18/2008 12:02PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


This is a great CD, really like Tara's songs for their depth of emotion. You can tell she was really living what she was writing. On the other hand, I can imagine listening to Jeb's songs in the middle of a field at Suwanee and dancing my butt off. They're a little lighter but still catchy. Looking forward to seeing them at Magfest in a little over a month, and it's too bad they don't do WMNF's New Years show in st. Pete anymore.

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Fri 9/19/2008 04:53AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

biggie K is funny. tomorrow still knows is beautiful.

and temporary misery has a nice reggae flava.

its good, like moonpies. word.

panicpanicpanic! starstarstar Fri 9/19/2008 10:16AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


hitting up their new years show at the orange peel in asheville, pretty stoked!!

breadloaf starstar Sat 9/20/2008 07:03AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

This is an absolutely fantastic recording from a truly great band. I would have liked to see a more in-depth review, frankly. Tara Nevins has used her personal anguish to create some superior, very touching songs. One of the best songwriting bands out there, in my opinion. We see them whenever we get the chance. I love their style and range, Tara brings so many sounds with her variety of instruments and Jeb's clean Strat tones are gorgeous. The new members are fully integrated. They are playing really well- go see them! We love Donna in Vermont, long live the Herd.

n-1 Sat 9/20/2008 07:50AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

this band is good

Lightenupyourload Sun 9/21/2008 09:22AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


They played a great show last night at Jannus Landing in St. Pete! Lots of old favorites before and after new songs so they didn't lose the crowd who hadn't heard new cd. Their regular drummer was out (wife had baby) and replacement had a bit of a hard time picking up but overall tight show with all the fans singing along. This show definitely got me ready for some Magfest in a month!

Treetophigh Tue 9/23/2008 12:46PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!



Deklen Wed 9/24/2008 06:08PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


It's rather funny how Jeb looks like he's sleeping the whole time in the Grassroots dance tent...