Donna the Buffalo at Putnam Den
Roots music dance party – and loyal herd – coming to Saratoga
With the thoroughbred herd having left town earlier in the week, another type of herd rolls into Saratoga Springs on Saturday nite, September 10.
It's on that night the beloved cajun-Americana-jam band Donna the Buffalo bring their eclectic dance party joy to the downtown Putnam Den live music venue for a 9PM show. The group's loyal Dead-like following – referred to as The Herd – will certainly be along for the ride.
Formed twenty years ago as an old-timey fiddle outfit in the Ithaca region, Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins soon thereafter turned the group into a plugged-in electric outfit. The result is a mashup of just about every style of American roots music mixed together into a unique groove-centered sound filled by a myriad of instruments, including guitars, keyboards, accordion, fiddle, reggae-influenced drums and even the occasional washboard. Topping it off are socially conscious lyrics sung my both of the group's founders.
Along the way, Donna the Buffalo has released nine albums, each of which made noise on the national Americana, folk, rock and roots charts. The latest, Silverlined, dates back to 2008, which makes the anticipation high for the new upcoming release, produced by John Keane of REM and Widespread Panic fame.
Several solo projects have also dotted the timeline; the most recent being this summer's critically acclaimed “Wood and Stone“ by Nevins, which features guests Levon Helm and Jim Lauderdale. The influential music media powerhouse No Depression called the album, "as invigorating as it is mesmerizing.”
But Donna the Buffalo's live performances are the true heart of the matter and the source of all the love from The Herd and the summer festival masses around the continent. The shows bring together an interesting mix of young and old, traditionalists and Jam Band Nation, folkies and rockers. Happy feet run wild and wide smiles rule the night.
Then there is always the 'name question' from the newbies: “Where'd they come up with Donna the Buffalo?” The answer to that mystery goes back to the Ithaca beginnings, when a rum-soaked band pow-wow devoted to that “what do we call ourselves” issue came up with Dawn of the Buffalo. But in relaying that decision to management, the room noise (as well as the rum) made it sound like Donna the Buffalo to the other ears. Being the humorous souls they are, they ran with it.
Such a story just adds to the emerging legacy of what is already one of the nation's most popular club acts.