With hopes of enjoying some Southern food and performing some of its new music, Bella Donna is excited to revisit Oxford.
The five-piece is influenced by the Ozarks. According to the band’s website, “The traditional music that flows through the hills and hollows of the area the group was raised in helped them form their sound called Ozark Jazz.”
This will be the band’s second time performing in Oxford. Bella Donna is set to perform on Thacker Mountain Radio Thursday and at Proud Larry’s Friday. It performed last August at the now-closed Shelter on Van Buren. The owner of Shelter on Van Buren, Lee Bowie, helped Bella Donna find some shows in the Tupelo and Water Valley areas.
“Lee was raving about them and said we had to have them on the show,” said Kate Teague, the executive director and producer for Thacker Mountain Radio.
After a little research, Teague said she was intrigued by the band’s style.
“I knew they would be an awesome addition to the show, and we are stoked to have them,” she said.
And the feeling is mutual. Members of Bella Donna said they enjoyed the town and its vibes during their last visit.
“The people we have met in Oxford have been so kind and willing to help,” Liz Carney, vocalist and guitarist in Bella Donna, said.
The band decided to return for the town’s close proximity, local beer and tasty food. Like many others who visit the South for its food, Matt Guinn, who started the band with Carney and is the lead guitarist, is most excited about it.
“There are these chips called Zapps that seem to only be sold in the South. They’re so good,” he said.
Members of Bella Donna, who have been playing together for seven years, received a great response and turnout during their last visit.
“The people that came to our shows listened and seemed genuinely into our sound, and we are a quiet band, so when the audience is quiet we get pumped,” Carney said.
The band plays with only acoustic instruments, which give off a quieter tone. This also gives the band the opportunity to add lots of texture to its songs. Carney, the vocalist, often alternates in tone harmonically while feeding off the vibes of her other band mates.
“We’re all very in tune to one another’s playing style, and I think it shows in our live sets,” Carney said.
Carney, who at first doubted her own vocal talents, has now taken to the art and developed her skills.
The band has new songs, such as “Lost Lover” and “Crows,” that will be featured in the band’s sets in Oxford. Neither of these songs has been recorded yet, but the band is planning to have them recorded by this spring. It’ll also feature a crowd favorite called “Creature.”
The song has a consistent tone until its climax in the middle, where the acoustics pick up in pace, all while Carney’s voice mellows out the feel of the entire song.
“We recently recorded it, and I’m happy with how it turned out,” she said.
The band tours and plays shows monthly at a variety of venues, speaking to its music’s ability to please many social settings.
“We can perform at a wedding for the bride’s entrance and then again at the reception with a more upbeat tone of music,” Carney said.
When it comes down to it, the members of Bella Donna just want to play music for others to enjoy.
“Each of our end goals are to be able to do this and not have to do a ‘9-5’ or sit in an office all day,” Carney said. “We would rather all of us do this as a band and travel.”