Donna the Buffalo
Bell's Eccentric Café, Kalamazoo
Sept. 26, 9:30 p.m.
$18 advance/$20 doors
In another generation, they would be called Deadheads. But lately, devoted fans of Donna the Buffalo have endeared themselves to the band as "The Herd." The name is fitting for fans willing to migrate across the country with a common purpose: to jam with their favorite band.
"Our fans are people who love to travel, and our shows give them a nice destination,"said Jeb Puryear, who shares songwriting and vocal duties with Tara Nevins. "Our shows may also fulfill their vision of a more loving society, and of finding a home."
In a fitting throwback to the love culture of the '60s, an era that seems to live on at festivals today, the group's latest album was recorded on analog tape in an ancient New York church. Tonight, Tomorrow, and Yesterday is true to the blend of roots, zydeco and Americana the band is known for. Although, according to Puryear, stylistic leanings were never intended.
"We don't really adorn songs or albums with different styles. We're all about the songwriting and the message we want to convey."
Since its establishment in 1989, Nevins and Puryear have served as the band's artistic wellspring. Nevins's songs often display a strong voice made for folk rock, complimented by California guitar hooks, while Puryear's compositions are anchored in authentic storytelling and earthy minimalism. Musical influences have never been hard to find, admitted Puryear.
"I've been listening to records since I was two years old. All the greats—the Beatles, Dylan, Marley. But there isn't really anyone who hasn't influenced me. I'm influenced by all of the music I enjoy."
In the midst of a nationwide tour filled with dates at well known music halls and festivals, Donna the Buffalo will play at Bell's Eccentric Café, a cavernous and rustic space that has earned a reputation for its top tier fusion of brews and music. Luckily for The Herd, Puryear's focus will be on the music. That is, unless Bell's, or Michigan's ambivalent weather, can change his mind.
"I don't drink beer. I'll only have one if it's a really hot day."