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Published: 2008/07/22
by Matt Brockett

Silverlined – Donna the Buffalo

Sugar Hill

Adult contemporary Americana rock, with gorgeous harmonies and catchy musical and vocal hooksthese are the hallmarks of Donna the Buffalo, and they fittingly form the backbone of Silverlined, the latest effort from these 20-year veterans. Tunes like the opening bouncy twanger Temporary Misery and the rocking Forty Days and Forty Nights prove why the band is a popular attraction for the older, more laid-back jamband fans and festival going public. They are a much more song-based than jam-based band overall, and they keep a solid danceable beat going even on the more somber and introspective numbers.

With two primary vocalists in the band these days, founding members Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins, the band achieves a wide and interesting range of styles and moods. The strong, rocky, classic sound of Broken Record and the dreamy, hope-filled soul searching of Beauty Within are good examples of the depth and range of Nevins songwriting. The infectious and countrified Meant to Be and the upbeat Garden of Eden showcase Puryears writing and vocals, although the latter suffers slightly from some odd timing choices in the percussion.

On Locket and Key the band is joined by the inimitable Bela Fleck, whose virtuosic banjo playing forms a huge part of the songs foundation, yet his playing never quite gets the chance to shine on its own, which is a damn shame if you havent heard the man play. But hey, this is a Donna the Buffalo record, not a Bela Fleck record, so its certainly a forgivable offense. The other heavy-hitting guest comes in the form of Los Lobos lead singer and guitarist David Hidalgo. He sings background vocals for Nevins on the title track, a very good song overall, despite a relative abundance of lyrical cliches.

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