LAKE PLACID - Tara Nevins probably won't be very excited to know that it's been snowing here.
When the Enterprise talked to Donna the Buffalo's co-founder in mid-October, she said she was hoping it would be more fall-like when the band plays this Friday at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. The last few times the band played the Tri-Lakes, it was for Winter Carnival in Saranac Lake, and the deep snow and cold didn't suit her.
"It was so freaking cold," Nevins said in a phone interview. "I could never live up there."
Donna the Buffalo
She is no stranger to the area. She went to college at the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, and during her four years there, she traveled all over the North Country as fiddler for the St. Regis River Valley String Band. She said she has fun revisiting the area, but she doesn't love being reminded of how it was so cold that she once got frostbite on her earlobe.
Nevins said she enjoys playing for the crowds here, though. In places like this that are more remote and off the beaten path, people know how to really get into a show.
"It seems like in Lake Placid, people know how to have a good time, cut loose," Nevins said. "Lake Placid has always been like that - people getting down and hanging from the rafters type of feeling."
The band, whose roots music blends influences of Cajun, rock, folk, reggae and country, makes a stop in Lake Placid on tour to promote its first studio album in five years, "Tonight, Tomorrow and Yesterday," released in July.
The entire album was recorded in analog, a departure from their other albums. They wanted to make a vinyl album that had an older, more natural sound. The band sat in a friend's rustic church in Enfield, near Ithaca, and recorded songs on 2-inch tape.
"We sat around in a circle and just played, all in a circle," Nevins said.
Nevins said the concept was hatched by Jeb Puryear, the band's other founder. Members have shifted throughout the band's 25 years or so of music making, but Puryea and Nevins have been the two mainstays and share songwriting duties. This is the first album they recorded with bandmates David McCracken (Hammond organ, clavinet), Kyle Spark (bass) and Mark Raudabaugh (drums).
Nevins called Puryear "very much an audiophile.
"He's very much into how things are recorded," she said. "He prefers analog over digital."
Nevins was reluctant to weigh in on the final product, calling it "fine" and "all right," though she said the process was fun.
"It's always hard to love your own record. You listen to it so much when you're making it," Nevins said. "I hear it differently than you do. I'm so inside it."
But it's been well received on Americana radio charts, peaking at number five and staying in the top 10 for several months.
The band keeps up a busy touring schedule, and Nevins said she hasn't had much time to listen to much music besides what she's playing. She drives a lot of rental cars and doesn't cart around a pile of CDs with her everywhere she goes. She doesn't even have that one CD she's crazy about right now that she brings everywhere.
"Over the years, it seems like I've always had one of those," she said. "I don't have one right now. I wish I did, actually, 'cause it's really fun."
Sometimes, she said she gets tired of music and her ears just need a rest.
But then again, there's still plenty of music that inspires her. At this fall's Americana Music Festival and Conference, she said she especially enjoyed sets by country artists Buddy Miller and Rodney Crowell.
Expect to hear plenty of inspired music when Donna the Buffalo plays the Lake Placid Center for the Arts this Friday. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $20 and can be purchased by calling the LPCA box office at 518-523-2512 or online at www.lakeplacidarts.org.