Donna The Buffalo
Charlotte, North Carolina
September 18, 2008
Making its mark through live performances and a blend of musical genres and influences, Silverlined, released in June.
The title track from the new release proved to put the audience in the mood, and group founder and de facto leader Tara Nevins made the transition to fiddle for “These Are Better Days” without skipping a beat. “I Don’t Need a Riddle” let loose a swinging love affirmation from Nevins, whose voice echoed beautifully as ladies in the crowd felt the urge to pull their men a little closer to sway with the beat. The band took time after this tune to promote the new album and guitarist Jeb Puryear added his sentiments about time well-spent in the studio, “We’re about as happy as we’re ever gonna get.”
Two new tunes followed, “Garden of Eden,” featuring poignant social commentary about the state of the environment, and Tom Gilbert’s solid drum thumping provided the backbone of rocker “Broken Record.” An unexpected cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” featured Nevins on the washboard, reiterating her multi-faceted musical talent that lends itself so readily to the genre-defying essence that is DTB.
The gentle reggae sway of “Each and Every Direction” prompted Puryear to lean his head back, eyes closed, a look of pure bliss written all over his face as he strummed along and sang each word with purest intention, reveling in the lyrical depth he has created.
“Temporary Misery” brought the tempo back up, causing keyboardist Dave McCracken to stand and snarl while Nevins hammered the meaning of the tune home, “I won’t try, I’ll get by, set my heart and soul both free.” “Locket and Key,” the inspiration for the band’s first music video, was short and sweet, leaving room for a blazing “Family Picture.” The amount of energy and intensity DTB played this song with is remarkable, as they have been playing it night after night for many years, but this time, it sounded new again and the crowd felt it from the stage.
“Blue Sky” and “Rocking Horse” found their way into the setlist next, creating the build-up for “40 Days and 40 Nights.” This tune has been around for a long time, but it is currently featured on their new disc, and it did not disappoint. The jam was extended and sweet as it proved to be the longest and most sonically explored tune of the evening. “No Place Like the Right Time” and the ever truthful “Funky Side” closed out the non-stop set.
The encore tunes seemed carefully selected to create a feeling the audience could leave with and carry all the way home. The lyrically gorgeous and live rarity “If You Only Could” instilled a message of peace and understanding, while Zydeco legend Clifton Chenier’s “Hot Tamale Baby” gave one last chance to dance and soak in that on-point accordion.
The last tune of the night, “Let Love Move Me,” showcased Puryear’s sincere singing style that can lend itself to sing-speak at times. This sleepy lullaby for the weary Herd closed out a soulful evening from a gem of band and even allowed bass player Jay Sanders (of Acoustic Syndicate) a chance to show off one of his other talents, playing while seated on the floor next to the drum kit after taking a little tumble.