Nina & The Buffalo Riders
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Nina & The Buffalo Riders

Detroit, Michigan, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Detroit, Michigan, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Rock Americana




"Nina & the Buffalo Riders defy easy labeling"

When it comes to musical genres, no one's sure where to put Nina & the Buffalo Riders, but when it comes to summer music festivals, several promoters out there know the value of getting the band a choice slot.

The International Pop Overthrow, which comes to PJ's Lager House starting Thursday, is the first of a handful of upcoming fest gigs for the southwest Detroit six-piece, whose sound strays often from the strict boundaries of pop for adventures in Detroit garage rock, '70s psychedelia, gritty piano-bar blues, Appalachian-tinged folk and freewheeling rock 'n' roll.

Lead singer Nina Sofia has a commanding presence, and her melodic voices matches the intricate guitar lines of Adam Enriquez Jr. and Ryan Meadows. Mike Fritz adds atmospheric augmentation on keys, while Ramiro Romero (bass) and Adam (A.J.) Jezewski (drums) round out the rhythm. We spoke with Jezewski about the band's adaptable 31-flavors sound and its suitability for festivals like Pop Overthrow.

QUESTION: It seems like every time I catch this band live, it’s during a festival. More than that, the festivals are very different musically.

ANSWER: When we got together, we knew we wanted to get into the festival scene. We figured we’d fit well there. Our music’s fun, it’s energetic, and it’s kind of got that bit of throwback feel to it to where it could appeal to lots of different age groups. So we went for festivals, particularly, and lots of festival organizers seemed to really like us. We’ve been lucky enough to continually get asked back to multiple festivals — from the bluegrass-based fests like Nor-east’r festival to the Fuzz Fest in Ann Arbor, where there’s predominantly hard, gritty, rock bands. When we got together, it wasn’t like: "Hey, let’s try to do as many genres as possible to cover our bases." We just all come from different areas and different skill sets, and we’ve found we’re happy doing bluegrass with acoustic and banjo to really heavy bluesy or psychedelic-type stuff. As a drummer, there are some songs, for me, that get as heavy as heavy metal.

Q: At festivals, it seems like crowd engagement is one of your main motivations.

A: We enjoy playing music together and for ourselves, but most of all, we love having fun with audiences. We’ll still play our hearts out at every show, but the larger the crowd, the better, particularly because we enjoy concerts as a communal experience. We’ll go out into the crowd and engage with them with acoustic instruments unplugged and our singer, Nina, just yelling at the top of her lungs. We’ll even hand out percussive instruments to people. Hopefully, they have rhythm, but it's fun regardless. We played the Wyandotte Street Fair and had a basket of percussive instruments at the front of the stage for kids to come up and play. So, yeah, I think our favorite part is making friends, making relationships, trying to forge communities.

Q: How does your kaleidoscopic sound fit into this town’s assortment of more distilled genres?

A: I think we definitely have our own sound but still fit into the Detroit sound because, really, there’s all types of music that you get from Detroit. It’s funny, though, to look through the press clippings or reviews we’ve gotten. Each one labels us differently. One calls us psychedelic rock; one calls us hippie-bluegrass. A festival (like International Pop Overthrow) will ask us how to describe ourselves, and we just go through the list and pick the one that sounds best. We’ll also intentionally play shows with a lot of the same people, particularly Willa Rae & the Minor Arcana. Our bass player’s in that band. They’re kind of like an Arcade Fire folky-rock thing.

Q: How do you make a six-piece band work? What’s the chemistry like between you?

A: There’s definitely an eclectic mix with us, even in age ranges, with our bassist, Ramiro, at 21 and me. I’m like band grandpa at 32. When we first started playing together, as soon as we locked in, it was apparent we had something unique. It wasn’t like anything I’d felt in the other groups I’ve played with, wherein I might connect with just one other player. This was a six-way connection that felt perfect. And we’re all very appreciative and protective of that bond. It sustains us through any rough patches. We enjoy each other’s different styles or interests; we see each other as quirky. Nina’s very into astrology. She takes it very seriously and assures me that I’m how I am because I’m a Sagittarius. I’ve never considered that, but I enjoy that about her. We open each other up to new things like that. In the same way, she may have refined her business skills while watching me interact with club owners or just in that more professional way that I’ve got from my own experience working 9-5 as a manager or with various start-up businesses. But then, that’s (experience) I utilized to propel this music project forward.

Q: What's next for the band, and by the way, where did your name come from?

A: It’s just a joke from a YouTube video, actually, from a viral video called “Guy On A Buffalo” where this cowboy guy is riding around the forest fighting cougars and rescuing babies. It’s from some movie from the '70s that a band overdubbed.

This year, we’re shopping for a producer for our next album. Any money we make from gigs goes into a band bank account, and we hope to track down a big-name producer. We have an EP out now that we’re happy with. It’s mixed very well, but we’re ready to take that next step. The guys who made that YouTube video, by the way, reached out to us and thanked us for appreciating their work. So that was good. We got to connect with the people who gave us our name. - Jeff Milo, Special to the Detroit Free Press


Nina and the Buffalo Riders have been steadily building a following in Detroit with music that aches with soul and burns with the heart of rock. The band was in great form during their set on the Huma Room stage. The sound system exquisitely captured the rolling waves of bluesy music. The entire band beamed with a joyful vibe that reverberated through their songs. The band featured the passionate vocals of Nina Sophia which when accompanied by Adam Enriquez (guitar), Ryan Meadows (guitar), A.J. Jezewski (drums), Mike Fritz (keyboards), and Ramiro Romero (bass) gave the crowd a musical stew that hinted at influences of The Grateful Dead, Tedeschi-Trucks Band, and Janis Joplin. - Chuck Marshall of National Rock Review

"Psychedelic Rock: Nina and The Buffalo Riders, Jefferson Airplane, and The Rolling Stones!!!"

One of the brightest spots on the Detroit music scene for me recently, has been the arrival of Nina and The Buffalo Riders! A group of six musicians with wide open interests that can really shift gears between and within their songs. In the sixties, they would have been referenced as a “tribal” band, because of their “hippie” tendencies. Nowadays, they just play good music and don’t have to worry about labels. Nina and Ramiro will be guests on my “Theme Attic” show today at 10AM to talk about their album release party this week at Hopcat in Detroit on Friday, May 8th. My favorite song by the Band is “Madness.” - Phil Maq - Radio host, music aficionado and voice-over artist. Home of the Philbys.

"Detroit x Detroit Returns to the Magic Stick"

Detroit x Detroit is taking over the Magic Stick this Saturday night to deliver a sample of Detroit’s music catalog – covered by local Detroit musicians! Back for its 5th year, this annual event celebrates Detroit’s unique musical history by showcasing local artists performing some of Detroit’s greatest hits. Fifteen acts are each scheduled to perform a three song set covering another artist with Detroit music ties.
This unique local music celebration is a must-see for any music fan! Plus, the proceeds of this event help support a special scholarship for the students at the School of Rock! See the School of Rock students live in action, they’re opening the show on the main stage – performing hits from Detroit guitar hero Ted Nugent!
CBS 62’s Detroit Proud spoke to Detroit x Detroit musicians Adam Jezewski (drummer for Nina & The Buffalo Riders),and Jesse Shepherd-Bates (who is performing songs from Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.’s Daniel Zott…before he was in Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.), about their upcoming performances. We also chatted with School of Rock Music Director Eddie Baranek about this Saturday’s show. Check out what they had to say!
Hey Eddie! Tell Detroit Proud readers about School of Rock and its connections to the Detroit x Detroit show.
School of Rock started in Rochester in 2008 and is a performance-based program that lends itself to develop confidence and musicianship over 3 or 4 month seasons. I’ve been the Music Director here since June of 2009, and this will be the third time the students have performed at Detroit x Detroit.
The funds raised by Saturday’s show help provide an opportunity for families to afford their kid to attend School of Rock who otherwise would not be able to. These kids are so talented and this scholarship allows them a chance to attend and grow.
What was it like working with the School of Rock students on their Ted Nugent performance?
It’s all about passion, these kids have so much of it. Ted Nugent has left us with some great songs and we love to have this avenue to showcase awesome Detroit music. This is a new route the kids have never gone down, they’re the first band playing, and they are going to be awesome.
Ted Nugent songs allow the kids to communicate on stage, students can go back and forth – play tag, so- to-speak – and really engage each other. It’s not just guitar playing, the bassist enjoyed how involved the bass lines are in the songs. The band is awesome, it’s a really well-oiled machine – full of intelligence and passion. You’ll get to see that on stage.
Detroit Proud asked Adam & Jesse about their performances and how they chose the Detroit artists they’re covering.
Adam Jezewski: We are going to perform two deeper tracks from the Bob Seger System and one mega hit that everyone knows. We’ll perform them pretty much as written – jam them out a little bit. We have a female lead singer, so it’s been great hearing her belt out these songs. Our band formed about a year and a half ago. Before our band formed, we were performing early Bob Seger songs, and our sound is pulled from that era – Seger, Bad Company, and the Allman Brothers.
Jesse Shepherd-Bates: The band I’m performing with is a bunch of old friends – we’ve been in and out of bands together. I really liked Daniel Zott’s solo stuff, also it’s an excuse to dress up, and my hair is almost as big as his.
I really wanted to play Daniel’s solo stuff before he got into Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., I hope people leave Detroit x Detroit and check it out – it’s weird stuff. The chord progression never stops in his music, it’s awesome. He is a brilliant guy. It took us a while to learn the songs, but it’s been a lot of fun.
Jesse Shepherd-Bates as Daniel Zott
Jesse Shepherd-Bates will be performing as Detroit’s Daniel Zott this Saturday at the Magic Stick!
Aside from performing, what else are you guys looking forward to on Saturday?
Jesse: My favorite part is watching local bands covering other local bands – over the years, the show has grown into performances of larger Detroit acts. It’s an excuse to learn the songs of people I see around at bars. You learn and perform their music, and it gives you a chance to get inside their head a little. Davila puts on a great live show, I’m really looking forward to their performance as John Lee Hooker.
Adam: I’m looking forward to see the other bands perform and highlight Detroit’s musical legacy and history. The Magic Stick is such a unique venue and with their upcoming format change, we’re looking forward to being a part of some of the last rock shows at the Magic Stick.
Don't miss the rockin' soulful sounds of Nina & The Buffalo Riders as they perform as the Bob Seger System live at Detroit X Detroit!
Do not miss the rockin’ soulful sounds of Nina & The Buffalo Riders as they perform as the Bob Seger System, live at Detroit x Detroit!
I’m also excited to see the kids kick off the night performing Ted Nugent. The Magic Stick is a very cool venue for a young person to play at. We’re happy to support a great cause and the kids at School of Rock, anything to support young musicians is very cool. - CBS Detroit

"Nina & the Buffalo Riders talk Detroit rock roots"

Classic Rock Meets New-Age Energy
By LeeAnn Brown
The first time we met up with Detroit up-and-comers Nina & the Buffalo Riders was at a small daylong festival in Clarkston. Their thick blues riffs broke the stagnant barn air, making way for those unmistakably soulful power-pipes of lead singer Nina Ledesma. Fascination with the band's smooth classic rock prowess set in, but it wasn't until later that night that Nina and her acoustic guitar enraptured us as we sat around the campfire, beer in hand.

Since that summer night, the band has played a show nearly every weekend at local music houses like PJ's Lager House and Ann Arbor's Blind Pig. In light of their upcoming EP, we traveled over to southwest Detroit's culture-soaked Delray neighborhood to talk with Ledesma (vocals), Adam "A.J." Jezewski (drums), Adam Enriquez (guitar), Ramiro Romero (bass), Ryan Meadows (guitars and things), and Mike Fritz (keys). After burritos from the local taco truck, we gathered on the front porch, with an overly trusting stray cat we dubbed Cheddar, to discuss Detroit music and sticking to the roots. - Detroit Metro Times


EP1 REVIEW*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Nina and The Buffalo Riders craft invigorating rock music with the soulful beating heart of blues on their debut release. 

The tragedy in this initial release from Nina and The Buffalo Riders is that there are only 5 songs. The beauty of this release is that each song is marvelous. This six-piece band from Detroit, Michigan reinvents rock that feels vital to the salvation of your soul. Each song courses with the love of the music being made by each member of the band.

— Chuck Marshall Life in Michigan



“Catch them now before they go supernova. The band’s sound is bluesy and psychedelic while Nina Sofia’s powerhouse vocals are soon to be classified one of the seven wonders of the Midwestern world” (Metro Times).

Nina & The Buffalo Riders are a product and cumulative manifestation of Detroit's legendary musical history.  The five piece outfit combines soulful vocals with instrumentation reminiscent of early blues and psychedelic rock from the likes of Big Brother and the Holding Co. and Jefferson Airplane.  “The passionate vocals of Nina Sofia which when accompanied by Adam Enriquez (guitar), Ryan Meadows (guitar), A.J. Jezewski (drums), Mike Fritz (keyboards), and Ramiro Romero (bass) gave the crowd a musical stew that hinted at influences by The Grateful Dead, Tedeschi-Trucks Band, and Janis Joplin” (Chuck Marshall -National Rock Review).  

Since their formation in early 2013, “Nina and the Buffalo Riders have been steadily building a following in Detroit with music that aches with soul and burns with the heart of rock” (Chuck Marshall - National Rock Review),  playing prime time slots at Detroit Winter Blast 2016, Showcase D’Holidays 2015, Arts Beats and Eats Royal Oak 2015, opening for Detroit’s own Sponge at the Allen Park City Art and Music Festival in 2013, 2014 and 2015, the Metro Times Blowout 2015, Hamtramck Music Festival in 2016 and the Ferndale City Pride Festival in 2014, headlining venues such as the Magic Stick Detroit, Short's Brewing Company Bellaire,  PJ's Lager House in Detroit's historic Corktown neighborhood, the famous Blind Pig Ann Arbor and the newly opened Huma Room at Hopcat Detroit, and performing as direct support for national acts such as The Steepwater Band Chicago and Mike Leslie of Candelbox, in addition to heavy hitting local acts The Muggs, The Reefermen and Detroit Classic Rock royalty Frijid Pink.  “In the sixties, they would have been referenced as a 'tribal' band because of their 'hippie' tendency.  Nowadays, they just play good music and don’t have to worry about labels” (PhilMaq- Radio Personality at 89.3 WHFR).  The group is valued for their high intensity live performances, cross-genre instrumentation, and desire to make genuine friendships with every individual that they encounter. 

Nina and the Buffalo Riders debut EP is out now and can be purchased at iTunesAmazonBandcamp and CD Baby and streamed on both Spotify and Pandora.

Band Members