Buffalo member Tara Nevins stretches out as a front-person and tries on some new
musical personas on her latest solo effort, Wood
and Stone. The material alternates between more Donna the
Buffalo-like rustic rambles to swingier more contemporary numbers. But no matter
what genres Tara explores and combines on her first solo album since 1999, the
results are engaging and entertaining.
Nevins' musical career began with the all-woman oldtime/Cajun
band, The Heartbeats. She was a founding member and remained with
the band for almost ten years before beginning Donna the Buffalo. In her current
band she shares lead vocal responsibilities and plays fiddle, accordion, and
guitar. The band is very much a democracy with all members sharing the creative
and frontperson duties. On Wood And Stone Nevins has more opportunity to stretch out and
pursue her own music. "There were so many elements I wanted to explore – to
combine all the pieces of m personal musical puzzle."
At times playful and always eclectic, eleven of thirteen songs
on Wood and Stone are Nevins'
originals. The exceptions are covers of Van Morrison's "Beauty of Days Gone
By" and Perkins and Parish's "Stars Fell on Alabama." Nevins originally
recorded "Stars" in 2008 for a film project, but her heartfelt and stylish
rendition is more about personal aesthetics than any commercial tie-ins.
Produced by Larry Campbell, who also contributes acoustic and
electric guitar, pedal steel, citern, harmonium, banjo, and even fiddle on
several tracks, the album features very natural down to earth arrangements where
instruments that you don't normally hear with each other blend and merge. A
good example of these clever combinations is the double solo between electric
guitar and pedal steel on the Nevins' original "Who Would You Tell."
Taken as a whole Wood And Stone adds
another powerful and engaging chapter to Tara Nevins' musical achievements.