Musical decisions are based on genre, the categorical distinction between styles and how a listener predicts what their ears will be exposed to. Over time we stubbornly cater to our own tastes and preferences. Adapting to new sounds proves difficult. Scroll through a playlist. There won’t be much variety.
Trumansburg, New York-based Donna the Buffalo’s latest release, Dance in the Street is a twelve-track eclectic playlist in its own right. The band are genre defiant. Try putting them in a box. Impossible.
Rapid changes in society coupled with the need to express their views led co-founders Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins back into the studio for the first time in five years. “From both the male and female perspective,” Puryear says, “the album provides an enjoyable ride between the general and the personal.” Enlisting the help of acclaimed producer, Rob Frabini (Bob Dylan, The Band) the band’s sensational live sound is organically captured as the listener hears every thump, every beat.
With the band’s powerful messages, keen storytelling, and artistry, the album takes the listener down a dominantly danceable path of empowerment. Like the album cover Dance in the Street, is a celebration of universal sound. Once again, the band have outweighed themselves. They set the bar and exceed it.
The album kicks off with the title track, a spoken word marching blues protest that is followed by the similarly paced “Motor.” Puryer and Nevins fruitfully swap lead vocals on the tracks “Heaven and The Earth,” “Look Both Ways,” and “Across the Way.” “My songs are about letting go,” says Nevins of her new material that includes themes of attachment, lost love, and the past, while pulling the listener out of the blue funk they may find themselves in.
Donna the Buffalo spiritually connect with their audience as they draw upon their vast spectrum of influences ranging from old-time fiddle drenched bluegrass, country, rock and roll, and swampy Cajun and zydeco. Dance in the Street is a communal effort. The band and the audience, on equal planes. “The fans show up to be a part of it,” Puryear says. “We show up to be a part of it,” he continues. “We don’t have an intimidating vibe.” We’re [no] different than [our audience]. If a scene is really on, it doesn’t matter whether you’re watching, listening, dancing, or playing, it’s on. Everybody knows it. It feels great. That’s the nature of the connection.”
Dance in the Street drops November 9, 2018. Pre-orders are now available via Donna The Buffalo site.