DtB History Part 2: 2002-2008

By Jeff Bauer

When I first saw Donna the Buffalo in June 2002, the band consisted of Jeb Puryear (guitar/vocals), Jim Miller (guitar/vocals), Tara Nevins (fiddle, accordion, vocals), Kathy Ziegler (keyboards), Jed Greenberg (bass), and Tom Gilbert (drums). In 2003, I was fortunate enough to see the band often, mostly in or within a short drive of New York. I was a bit surprised when Jed Greenberg left the band in October. As they'd do again in the future, the band turned to Asheville, NC to fill a slot, selecting Bill Reynolds, who played with the Blue Rags. Bill was able to get up to speed quickly, and by the time I saw DtB on 11/1/03 in Poughkeepsie, NY he had already began to add his personality to the mix. This lineup would remain steady until January 2005.

The next big change came at the very beginning of 2005. I caught three shows in December 2004, and while the performances were good, something was clearly amiss. The band headed down to Florida for its then-annual New Year's Eve gig at the Coliseum in St. Petersburg, a New Year's Day show in Fort Lauderdale, and a weeklong stand in Key West. The 1/1/05 show would be Jim Miller's last, and the band completed the Key West run with help from longtime friend Jim Lauderdale.

A few months into 2005 it became apparent that Jim Miller would not be replaced. When Jim Miller left, so did the country songs and the Dylan covers. In his place formed a new band dynamic, one that relied more heavily on the contributions of Kathy Ziegler and Bill Reynolds. As always, a steady stream of new songs from Jeb and Tara helped the band maintain its focus and its following. On 4/26/05 DtB released Life's A Ride, the band's first studio CD since 2000's Positive Friction.

In October 2005, keyboardist Kathy Ziegler announced that she was pregnant, with a due date in March 2006. Kathy joined the band in the studio in January 2006, and traveled with the band for most--but not all--of the shows on that month's tour of the Western U.S. By Springfest in March, David McCracken filled in for Kathy on keys; he remained aboard until May. Kathy rejoined the band on Thursday, 5/11/06, for a gig at the Starr Hill Music Hall in Charlottesville, VA. McCracken's time filling in for Kathy went exceptionally well, and he would stay close with the band, and joined them onstage on 12/30/06 in Charlotte, NC.

In June 2007, Bill Reynolds left the band. From June through July, the band used several bassists, including former member Jed Greenberg. Phil Weinrobe, and, oddly enough, Bill Reynolds. On 7/5/07 in Milwaukee, WI, Jay Sanders performed his first gig with DtB. Sanders was the bassist for the Acoustic Syndicate. Due to prior commitments, Sanders was unavailable for a handful of shows in September 2007; Sim Redmond filled in on bass. During this time, David McCracken sat in at several shows, including 8/18/07 in Banner Elk, NC and 9/14/07 in Greensboro, NC. By October Jay was a full-time member.

In late 2007 Kathy Ziegler announced she was moving to the Netherlands by June 2008. Her last show with the band was 2/16/08 in Ithaca, NY. David McCracken joined the band full-time in March. His first shows were 3/28 - 3/30 at the Suwannee Springfest in Live Oak, FL.

On 6/5/08 the band appeared at the Wakarusa Festival in Lawrence, KS. Drummer Tom Gilbert did not make this trip; in his place was Blueground Undergrass drummer Vic Stafford.

On 7/8/08, the band released Silverlined, their first CD since 2005's Life's A Ride. A few weeks earlier, they'd debuted a video for the title track on their web site. Later in the year, they'd release a video for Locket & Key that appeared on Great American Country TV as well as the Internet.

In September, DtB began a massive tour to support Silverlined that started in Philadelphia on 9/4. Tom Gilbert was not with the band for the first few weeks of the tour; he was home eagerly awaiting the birth of his daughter, who arrived on 9/15. During this time, the band used several drummers, including Vic Stafford, Marlin Patton, and Mike Riddleberger. Tom Gilbert rejoined the band for a few shows starting on 9/25/08 in Kent, OH. However, Vic Stafford was again DtB's drummer starting at Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival in Silk Hope, NC 10/9 -10/12 and for the rest of the tour of the Southeast and Western U.S. through October and November. In December, Tom joined the band for a run of 4 shows: State College, PA on 12/10, Teaneck, NJ on 12/11, Troy, NY on 12/12, and Buffalo, NY on 12/13. Vic Stafford returned after that weekend and has been DtB's drummer ever since.

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