Donna the Buffalo
Donna the Buffalo, a band from Trumansburg, New York, sounds inseparable from the Great Outdoors. These are the kind of old Deadheads who probably chose to cover John Anderson's Everglades ode "Seminole Wind" because it's got otters and gars in it. Their originals suggest holistic hippies squeezing accordions and strumming washboards on the front porch, two-stepping in the shadow of yonder mountain range. They constantly get cosmic about Mother Earth, and they're known to flesh out their rustic sound with African juju grooves. But at least on record, they don't go hog-wild with the jamming.
Silverlined, DTB's seventh album, ponders "the force that binds all living things." One song mentions butterflies and dragonflies; a few tracks later, there are bumblebees and beetles. Meanwhile, grand finale "Forty Days and Forty Nights" — partly about how a dog pooping in the grass helps maintain the circle of nature — references Noah's Ark and the Beatles. It's an autumnal record, shuffling and choogling and often weary indeed.
But after 20 years, these people play like pros —as they forfeit character, their music gains shape. There's a vague (if well-meant) recurring antiwar theme, but the songs that stand out are the straightforward ones about everyday life. Fiddler (etc.) Tara Nevins gets impatient about menfolk in the Alanis approximation "Broken Record" and the zydeco jaunt "I Don't Need a Riddle." Guitarist (etc.) Jeb Puryear coos over some "96 Tears"-style organ about his baby daughter "growing up in a rolling home" in "Biggie K." Domesticity on wheels — so when do tour buses get wind power, anyway?
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