(Photo via www.donnathebuffalo.com)
Donna the Buffalo, a band who hails 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
getting 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?
the Buffalo. Friday, January 16. City Limits. 19 NE 3rd Ave., Delray
Beach. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $18 in advance, $20 day of
show. Ages 18+ with ID. 561-279-8222; www.citylimitsdelray.com.
-- Chuck Eddy