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Donna the Buffalo

Ring in the New Year on January 1st 2022 at The Funky Biscuit in Boca Raton with the dynamic Donna the Buffalo. Playing what feels right, the quartet out of upstate New York has been on the road for decades. Selling more than 100,000 records, the eclectic band and their sound resemble a smorgasbord of reggae, rock, country, Cajun and folk. When it all comes together with a fiddle, their accessible music represents the soundtrack of good ol’ American dance. SFL Music had the opportunity to chat with multitalented vocalist and musician Tara Nevins about the challenges of the previous year, as well as the future for Donna the Buffalo.
SFL Music: I know you are presently marching up and down the East Coast, with several dates in the Midwest. What is your current location right now?

Tara: Right now, I am sitting on the bus at the side of the road next to Norfolk, Connecticut.

SFL Music: Are you promoting new material?

Tara: Absolutely, we are playing new songs. The material comes from being shut down for a year and a half. The content varies a bit. Two of my new songs are pretty reflective of the time and the collective state that we all seem to be in here. Another song is more personal. (Guitarist) Jeb Puryear’s are upbeat and vary as well. At first, the pandemic was very uninspiring. I tried to write, but nothing came out that I was worth sharing with the world. (Laughs). It was dismal times. Later in the pandemic, after getting vaccinated and life was returning to slightly normal again, I started writing. It was the same for Jeb coming out of it with new and positive ideas.

SFL Music: How does it feel to be taking the stage again after Covid?

Tara: It’s doesn’t feel like we are “after Covid” yet. I would say we are at an improved state of being, but it’s not over by any stretch. What I am saying is that it feels great to be on the bus, moving down the road, being onstage playing, seeing the crowd, and sharing our music with audiences again. We just finished playing four outdoor festivals. That was fabulous. But Covid is still looming, so we are learning how to be on the road. We just started playing indoor gigs two nights ago. It comes with new challenges and considerations (for safety). Playing again is wonderful. It’s just not 100% the same. Regardless, we love playing again. We’re back at it. Only now we have this baggage we’re carrying with us called Covid. Don’t forget your mask. Make sure you have your mask! (Laughs). This is what we all do for a living, so we’re hoping that the numbers keep coming down and things continue in a positive direction.

SFL Music: Donna the Buffalo has played for literally millions of fans over the years. Do you have a favorite?

Tara: Playing festivals is always my favorite. I have a few favorites, like the Suwannee Roots Revival in Live Oak (Florida) and MerleFest in North Carolina. We also have our own grass roots festival of music and dance at the Rhythm and Roots Festival in Rhode Island. We feel like part of the family because we’ve been playing at those particular festivals for years. The Great Blue Heron Festival up in Sherman, New York is another one.

SFL Music: What’s Donna the Buffalo have to look forward to in 2022?

Tara: We’re just trying to continue doing what we do. Hoping everything goes in a positive direction, so we can go into next year full steam ahead writing new songs and can make a new record at some point down the road.

SFL Music: What else do you want to say to South Florida music lovers?

Tara: We miss Florida. It’s a state where we always feel support from our fans and feel support from a lot of friends. There is Tampa Bay, Live Oak, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Virginia Key where we’ve hosted the Grass Roots Festival for 4 or 5 years. So we definitely have a lot of connections there, and it will be great to be back in Florida.

Photo by Ben Barnaby

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