|Donna the Buffalo (photo by John D Kurc)|
There’s good news and then there’s so-so news for summer music festival lovers. The good news is there are more festivals than ever before. The downside is fewer music festivals cater to just one specific musical form like bluegrass or Cajun. According to Tara Nevins of Donna the Buffalo, festivals are moving towards an all inclusive model with various roots music styles offered. The idea of blending traditional music styles is welcome news for Nevins and Donna’s organically engineered zydeco and old timey fiddle music.
“There are more and more festivals but now they have become more homogenized,” Nevins said during a recent interview.
“It used to be if there was a folk festival it was all folk music. Now they’re all Americana festivals and they have some of everything. It exposes the audience to a wide range of music and makes music more like the universal language, like one voice.”
With the music festival season underway for a couple of months now Grand Rapids audiences can expect Donna the Buffalo to bring the spring vibe indoors May 17 at the Intersection.
“People have just discovered that it’s a positive experience being outdoors for three or four days with a bunch of people who are there for the same reason,” Nevins said of the newer festival attendees. “That includes loving music, community building, and all things positive."
Donna hosts the Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance in Trumansburg, NY every summer. Nevins says featured performers this year are Lake Street Dive and Dickie Betts.
Nevins released the introspective solo effort Wood and Stone in 2011. It was recorded at Levon Helm’s studio in upstate New York (Helm played drums throughout). She also performed at one of Helm’s famed Midnight Ramble shows. She admits the one time she thought about pinching herself to make sure things were real was when she was onstage with the Levon Helm Band singing “The Weight."
“I’m just so grateful that my life intersected with his for a short period,” Nevins said. “And that I got the opportunity to record with him. He was a fabulous person and fabulous musician.”
Of late D the B is performing selections from their most recent release Today, Tomorrow and Yesterday and songs like “I Love My Tribe.” More often than not, however, you never really know just what songs the band has in store or how long they'll play.
“We always grab from a very large bag of songs," Nevins said. "Sure our show will contain newer songs but it will also cover old favorites and songs that haven’t been recorded yet."
Even as Donna the Buffalo turns the corner on 25 years in the business, Tara Nevins refuses any thought of resting on success. “I just want to keep on doing what we’ve been doing,” Nevins said. “I’m proud of my band and what we’ve accomplished but we’re going to keep striving.”
Donna the Buffalo wsg Big Dudee Roo, 8pm (doors 7), Saturday at the Intersection.
The 'section web page for this night: http://sectionlive.com/events/donna-buffalo/