by Ryan Neeley exclusively for Appalachian Jamwich

photos by John D Kurc

Root rock pioneers Donna the Buffalo will be coming to The Rex Theatre in Pittsburgh this Saturday, November 24th, and they’ll be bringing their loyal fans THE HERD along with them.   Grey Area Productions will be presenting the show, which has Edinboro, PA’s Tiger Maple String Band as the openers for this 21 and over open floor show. 

Donna the Buffalo is from upstate New York, and  have been putting out “feel-good groove-oriented, danceable and socially concious music” for over 20 years.   They are one of the pioneers of roots rock, mixing Zydeco/Cajun instrumentation with reggae beats, intriguing folk and country rock songwriting, reggae fire and heart and the family atmosphere of the Grateful Dead.   Encore magazine praises DtB, as they are sometimes called, stating that they have “earned a reputation as one of the most respected, eclectic and hard working acts today.”   The songwriting duo of vocalist/guitarist Jeb Puryear and the multi-talented washboard/accordion/guitar/fiddle /vocalist Tara Nevins have written over 180 songs in their time with DTB, with many more to come, and Nevins has recently branched out on her own with a solo release, Wood and Stone, showcasing her songwriting and vocal abilities along with the amazing talents she’s mastered on the instruments she plays.  “I’ve definitely sang in more songs on this album including a few covers,” Nevins said in a recent interview with Appalachian Jamwich. “A Van Morrison cover of Beauty of Days Gone By, my own version of a jazz song (The Stars Fell on Alabama) and a few others.”

Donna The Buffalo tours relentlessly while remaining independent, and has an extremely loyal fan base affectionately known as The Herd that will travel for hours to see the group perform.  Fans have also started a fan-based website,, to stay in touch and share news about the beloved band.   “The main thing I like about The Herd is that you don’t have to do anything to be a member.  You just have to like a song,” guitarist Jeb Puryear recently said in an interview with Roanoke Times.  “It’s a great feeling to promote such a feeling of community like you’re really part of something that’s happening, like a movement or powerful force.”   Nevins seems to agree with this fact, and while touring with Bill Kreutzmann of The Grateful Dead, realized why people associate their band with the Dead, “After seeing the family atmosphere within the community, I understood why people associate DtB and the Dead – There was that comraderie, where you see the same folks at each show and you end up caring about them because you’ve shared some very special moments together.   Music makes you feel, and that is special when you’re with so many people.” 

The band is currently in the midst of a U.S. winter tour with regional stops in Pittsburgh, PA (Rex Theatre – 11/24), Towson, MD (Recher Theatre – 11/29), Kent, OH (Kent Stage – 12/13), Columbus, OH (Woodlands Tavern – 12/14) and will be doing a New Years run in sunny Tampa, FL (12/29-12/31 – Skippers Smokehouse).  They are also working on a new studio album, their first since much acclaimed 2008 release Silverlined and their first since the addition of bassist Kyle Spark and drummer Mark Raudabaugh.  Keyboardist Dave McCracken rounds out the group, with Puryear and Nevins sharing the spotlight with vocal harmonies that are simply divine.   The Erie Times noted that although the band doesn’t write a set list for live shows, they “stick to a pattern.. usually alternating between Puryears rhythmic Dylan-influenced songs and Nevins breezy, melodic, accordion driven gems like the folksy Tides of Time and infectuous Locket and Key.” 

So if you haven’t been to a DTB show, you have to go see them live.  “..we try to make everyone feel welcome.   With all of the bad news and negativity out there, people are looking to be a part of something, and the music we perform is groove-heavy, danceable music that people gravitate towards.   We might not get the most press or publicity, but when people come to see our show, they usually have a good time, whether they are Donna the Buffalo fans or not,” Nevins said.  And if you have seen Donna The Buffalo perform live, I’ll see you at The Rex in Pittsburgh on Saturday night.   Because I know that anyone who has seen them before wouldn’t pass up the chance to once again take a night out of the stress of the holidays and everyday life to roam with The Herd and Donna the Buffalo.


About Tiger Maple String Band According to their website, Tiger Mountain String Band is an “energetic collection of talented musicians dedicated to continuing traditional and original old time music.”   Drawing their inspiration from “old time Appalachian tunes, fiddle tunes, mountain and murder ballads and coal mining songs,” the Tiger Mountain String Band combines harmonies with old time fiddling to bring an authentic and true “string band” sound to the audience.  The band consists of Lori Burke on vocals and guitar, Justine and Alison Parker on fiddle, Barry Smith on banjo, and Fred Parker on guitar and vocals and are based out of rural northwest Pennsylvania.  Put on some comfy stompin shoes and come out early to put some old time string band music in your ears.


Click HERE to get full schedule for Donna The Buffalo tour or more information regarding the band.

Click HERE for our ENTIRE interview with Tara Nevins from Donna the Buffalo.

Click HERE to get additional information regarding the Tiger Maple String Band.

Click HERE to get full list of Grey Area Productions shows.

Click HERE to get list of Rex Theatre shows.

SEE Donna the Buffalo perform “40 Days and 40 Nights” from Magnoliafest