Nina & The Buffalo Riders will stroll through Ypsilanti Saturday night.
The Detroit psych-blues rock septet of Nina Ledesma (vocals, acoustic guitar), Daniel Decker (guitar), Oscar Sosa (guitar), Mike Fritz (keys), Ramiro Romero (bass), Chris Kaszuba (drums) and Baba Bohmbaedio (percussion, djembe) will headline Grove Sessions Live, an outdoor studio production session hosted by Grove Studios, before a masked and socially-distanced small audience.
They’ll share the intimate Grove Studios courtyard stage with three Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti acts, including progressive jam quartet Stormy Chromer, funk-soul-rock sextet Sabbatical Bob and jazz composer-guitarist Adam Kahana.
“It’s always great to connect and share stages with bands we have never met before. The more we can get together, the more we can learn from one another instead of competing. We have played with Stormy Chromer before, but none of the others. Stormy is always very entertaining – their music is incredible as well as their off-stage presence,” Ledesma said.
Ledesma and her Buffalo Riders bandmates are among a growing roster of local artists, including Dani Darling, Doogatron and Louis Picasso & The Gallery, performing at monthly Grove Sessions Live production events, which offer 50 people ticketed VIP access to four hours of live music. Those live performances are recorded and later combined with Grove Sessions livestream artist interviews every Wednesday and Friday at 4 p.m.
“The Grove Sessions livestream series began online out of necessity in March due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home order here in Michigan. We were determined to continue connecting with the music community and our clients by offering them a virtual space to share their creativity, even though our revenue had dropped to zero since we had to close our rehearsal and production space,” said Erich Friebel, Grove Studios co-founder and director of community engagement.
“Bringing performances and other content to livestreaming was something we had envisioned doing long-term, but our new reality pushed us to innovate sooner and quicker than we planned. The monthly production event gives artists an opportunity to be directly involved with our team in spreading their music and stories.”
As for Nina & The Buffalo Riders, they started spreading their melodic, groovy psych-blues rock seven years ago. At the time, Ledesma met former bandmate Adam Enriquez at a Detroit bar and created a rootsy, country southern rock sound fused with rock, folk, soul, blues, funk and jam influences.
By 2015, the band released their mesmerizing five-track, self-titled debut EP, which features haunting sonic tales about disintegrating relationships, emotional struggles and internal growth from “City” to “Buffalo Blues.” Funky acoustic strums, invigorating electric guitars, glistening synths, thoughtful piano, pounding drums and soulful vocals invite listeners on their maiden buffalo ride.
Two years later, Nina & The Buffalo Riders dropped their heartfelt second EP, For the Dirt, which beautifully chronicles the band’s evolving multi-genre sonic journey. The band wrote the EP’s five tracks over two years and recorded them at Seattle’s Studio Litho in January 2017.
One For the Dirt gem includes “Please Come Back,” a striking My Morning Jacket-esque plea for a lover to stay. Vintage piano, vibrant synth, soaring bluesy electric guitars, delicate drums and light cymbal crashes beautifully encircle Ledesma’s soulful vocals as she cries, “But I will wait for you/If you need more time/It may be all I ever do/But it’s a small case to climb/Please come back/I’ll be loving you just like that.”
“These songs are some of the more emotional tracks we have and touch on pain in many ways – through loss, confusion, judgment and control. ‘Please Come Back’ is my favorite, and I love the elements we bring musically and vocally while the message hits close to home,” said Ledesma, who started playing guitar at age 11 and attending local open mics at age 13.
Today, Ledesma continues to write and record new material with the latest incarnation of The Buffalo Riders, who will provide a thoughtful take on psych-blues rock, Americana and soul Saturday night.
“Oscar can’t make this gig, but he brings the funk and the sultriness to the band. Decker brings the rock and melodic melodies to the guitar riffs while Mike will always bring the beautiful twinkling sounds from his keys, unless he’s taking us to church with his screaming organ sounds. Ramiro brings style and funk to the mix, and Joe brings the jam band style on top of the funk, rock, hip-hop grooves that he already plays,” she said.
Nina & The Buffalo Riders, Stormy Chromer, Sabbatical Bob and Adam Kahana
Saturday, Aug. 8 | 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. | outdoor courtyard performance
Grove Studios, 884 Railroad St., Suite B, Ypsilanti, MI
Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door