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Tara Nevins
Wood And Stone
Review By Steven Stone

 

  Donna the 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.

 

 

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