Sounds of the Sea

Donna the Buffalo and Adam Ezra Group

March 26 2017


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So the first full day of the cruise, but really the second day of our adventure was a travel day.  No Caribbean island stop was planned as the boat chewed up nautical miles.  Heading south and east from our Miami departure, we were skirting Cuba on the eastern side heading for the first stop which was to be Jamaica on Monday.

So as is fitting for the start of a vacation, Sunday was a day of relaxation.  Visiting the buffet, day drinking, sun, the pool deck, all were great choices for cruisers just getting their sea legs.  But Sounds of the Sea is not named that for no reason!  In the early afternoon the pool deck gave way to the production team and Donna the Buffalo were set up for a sunny 1 PM show.  

Check out the review of the Saturday Max Creek show, the premier of Sounds of the Sea concerts.

There was a sea breeze for sure, and it definitely effected my recording of the show.  But the sun was bright and hot, and the band equaled that heat with their premier performance on the MSC Divina.  For two hours they performed not only for Sounds of the Sea cruisers, but for the entire ship to enjoy.  There were a couple of hundred people involved in SOS, but a couple thousand people on the boat, and they did not expect Donna the Buffalo or this type of entertainment at all.

The ship is filled with your basic cruise entertainment- piano bars, karaoke, Salsa lessons, trivia contests, karaoke and the like.  So cruising is not something I typically crave.  When I went on my own cruise some twelve years ago I had said to myself- you know this would be perfect if Max Creek were the band on the ship.  So when my thought became reality the concept really came together for me.  

Donna the Buffalo is a brand new band for me.  I had heard them on the wind at Wormtown or Strangecreek in the past but this was the first time I paid attention.  The band is a five piece with Jeb Puryear up front on guitar and vocals, on fiddle, squeeze box and vocals is Tara Nevins (not Donna!!), and filling out the band Dave McCracken, Kyle Spark, Mark Raudabaugh on keys, bass and drums.  The band is a heady mix of cajun and rock and roll influences that come together in their own signature sound.  

This accessible but distinctive sound was pleasing to cruisers and the general public alike.  The show quickly attracted a nice crowd of revelers who either were on the makeshift dance floor, or wading ankle deep in a pool moat the surrounded the stage area.  Bathing suits and tie dyes were evident everywhere, and the band laid out a two hour show that really opened everyone to their sound and presence for the week.  A nice start for me for sure, both for Donna the Buffalo and for the real commencement of the cruise.

Admittedly, this recording is wind ridden- but you get what you get…


The rest of the day was restful and playful-  we got to know the ship and all it had to offer.  A nice dinner in the Black Crab was punctuated by the fact that the ship in their wisdom put all of the cruisers together.  So we got a chance to dine with other Creek freaks and cruisers.  One of the great things about SOS and events like this is that you get to hang out with band members and crew and get to know the folks who make this whole crazy trip possible.  Dining was semi-fancy in terms of dress and set up, and the food was very decent- not fine dining because of the mass produced quality of it- but lots of choices and excellent ingredients.

The late night show that night was the first of what were to be many official and non official appearances by Adam Ezra Group.  This was at the Gold Room, another night club.  This one was not as large nearly as the Black and White room where Creek had premiered the night prior, a slightly more intimate location.  

We arrived at 11:30 PM for the show, but the band had already started with their appropriate song, The Toast.  While I had seen Adam Ezra Group dozens of times, I suspect that most of the cruisers were not as familiar with him and his band.  It didn’t take long for him to win the crowd over as folks were imbibing and getting to know each other better.  

Over the next two hours Adam Ezra Group ran through their repertoire, with smiles on their faces and anticipating a full week of fun.  AEG originals from Steal Your Daughter to Flyin and Hippie Girl gave way to covers including their cult classic The Devil Came up to Boston.  That song really broke the ice for everyone and brought everyone together for the band.  

Mid way through the show Adam brought down the energy purposefully allowing his band to take a break while he went more intimate with a solo acoustic mini set.  He paid homage, along with fiddle player Corinna Smith, to the other bands on the boat.  They performed a song each by Max Creek and Donna the Buffalo.  While unfamiliar with the Donna song that came second, John Rider’s Blood Red Roses was  a great choice, and played directly in front of the man who wrote it.  It was a complete reworking of the song and was enough to raise the interest of guitarist Scott Murawski who wondered if it wasn’t a superior version of the song, even??

As their set time came to end, as is their habit, the band came off stage and did completely acoustic songs to extend the show with those who were now converted.  Standing on a table top of booth bench or something, Adam led the crowd in sing a long fashion as the stage was quickly broken down and plans were made for late night madness.  Shows number two and three were now in the books, and the Sounds of the Sea boat cruise was really sailing.


Check out the review of the Saturday Max Creek show, the premier of Sounds of the Sea concerts.

To submit a review or story for consideration hit us at [email protected]

Check out the Live Music News and Facebook page for updates and announcements.