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Buffalo, NY | Established. Jan 01, 1992 | SELF

Buffalo, NY | SELF
Established on Jan, 1992
Band Americana Folk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Times Record Review"

Fri, February 15, 2002
'Native Americana' hits Olympics

Lana Sweeten-Shults, , Times Record News

Texans call it Americana.
But stir in a touch of tangerine lemonade and sass it with some red earth-bound spirituality, and you've created what former Lawton resident Darryl Tonemah calls "Native Americana."
It's a salve on the wound of radio sameness that mixes the healing power of rock, folk, blues and country, and Tonemah - a Kiowa, Comanche and Tuscarora Native American - is applying the remedy in heavy doses with his latest CD, "A Time Like Now" which is due for release this April.
For Tonemah, in fact, there's no better time like now for his music, which is entertaining crowds at the Olympics.
With the games nestled in the misty mountains of Utah, the ultimate winter sporting event has adopted a Native American theme.
"They were looking for Native American entertainers to play," said Tonemah, who is performing two shows a day at the Olympics through Saturday - a thrill for family members, some of whom still live in the area, including in Wichita Falls.
Tonemah was busy packing earlier this week, getting ready to perform for estimated crowds of 10,000 to 30,000. If so, it would be the biggest crowd Tonemah would perform for, the largest previous to the Olympics being a festival crowd of 6,000.
It's been a wild ride getting to the Olympics for Tonemah. The singer still works a day job in his hometown of Phoenix, Ariz., in addition to fronting his two-pronged band contingent, with one band based in New York and the other in Arizona.
"I have a very practical family," Tonemah said. "I needed to get my education and have that to fall back on."
Tonemah works as a consultant about 20 hours a week, heading wellness education programs for Native American youth, including leadership training, self-esteem and goal-setting. Lately he's been working in Phoenix with the National Diabetes Prevention Program.
With his practical side in check, Tonemah lets his creative side soar as a musician. He brewed up his music at coffee shops while in college in Nebraska and became the first artist in the nation to play a VH-1 college music show.
Then Dakota Moon productions took notice. The result was his first CD, "Can You Hear Me?" a compilation, Tonemah said, of every type of music he'd ever heard.
Since that first release, the singer's day job has taken a back seat to his music, and though he hasn't been signed by a major label yet, he's gained a following at the many festivals he plays.
He was also nominated by the Native American Music Awards for Best Contemporary Album, Best Album Folk or Country and Best Male Artist in 1998.
"The first CD was pretty country," Tonemah said. "The second was more folk-country, and the last one, 'Journal of my Misperceptions,' was kind of more Dave Matthews. With this one, I'm trying to carve a niche for Native Americana."
The subject matter on the CD ranges from the wispy "Tangerine Lemonade," about the simple things in life, to politically-tinged "Fourteen-Ninety-Two" with its lyrics: "Lock us up in your glass walls/Watch us fight over bingo halls/ As you keep your smirk out of sight."
Tonemah's Native American heritage is evident on the CD. Not only does he play flute, but he weaves spirituality around all his songs.
"I think inherent in Native American people is spiritual strength," he said, a quality he hopes he relates to the Olympic crowds that come to hear him play this weekend.
"It's a real opportunity," he said. "It'll be something cool to tell my nieces and nephews."
Arts and entertainment editor Lana Sweeten-Shults can be reached at (940) 720-3462 or by e-mail at
- Lana Sweeten-Shults

"One in Every Crowd CD Review "What an album!""

One in Every Crowd: Darryl Tonemah. Gladiola Records.
Category: Contemporary Folk/Rock. Compact Disc, 2004
Darryl Tonemah's (Kiowa/Comanche/ Tuscarora) follow-up to his multi-'Nammy'-nominated, "A Time Like Now" is good stuff! The Phoenix-based 'rocker' is writing better now than at any time in his career! With an assist by Steve Sheehan, Chris Graffagnino, Ed Koban, Larry Pacheco and a host of others, Tonemah's 'band buddies' make pure musical magic! What an album! Favorites include, "Combustible", Back 2 U", "Pow Wow Snag" and even a 'catchy' version of Bruce Springsteen's, "Fire"!
Make sure you 'snag' a copy of Tonemah's, "One in Every Crowd"!
Whispering Wind Magazine (Nov. 2004) - Whispering Wind Magazine NOV. 2004

"CD Review- A Time Like Now"

Tonemah: A Time Like Now
[Gladiola Records 2001]
Darryl Tonemah (Kiowa-Comanche-Tuscarora) releases a disc that defines his sound as a talented singer/songwriter and a quality performer. His new album, A Time Like Now, is a galvanizing work sharp with emotion and metaphor. Beyond the lyric, instrumental arrangement and playing quality, the sound is rife with a folk/rock mix that he performs in a manner that best accentuates his abilities. The arrangements and lyrics are indeed strengths that hold the project altogether. The most outstanding tracks include "Grace," "Tangerine Lemonade," "Fourteen Ninety-Two" and "Usual Paranoia"
News From Indian Country - News From Indian Country 03-15-2002

"CD Review "Welcome to Your Rainy Day is a masterpiece.""

Welcome to Your Rainy Day: Darryl Tonemah. Gladiola Records
Category: Contemporary Native American Folk/Rock.
2007's Native American Music Award winner for, Best Folk Recording Welcome to Your Rainy Day is a masterpiece. Tonemah's (Kiowa/Comanche/Tuscarora) marvelous mix of folk, pop & rock all come together on this delightful disc. Tonemah's vocals are some of the best he's ever produced and the songwriting on this album is far and above anything he's written to this point in his career. The arrangements are simple (vocals, piano & guitar for the most part), the harmonies sublime and the musicianship, sharp, clean and crisp. Not unlike a lot of Native Artists nowadays, Tonemah's opted for a more acoustic, organic direction for his music and his sound. This change suits him well. Highlights include the title track "There's A Train" and rousing reincarnation of Bob Dylan's, "I Shall Be Released".A strong showing from this Norman, Oklahoma Native, Tonemah's Welcome to Your Rainy Day is a winner.
Whispering Wind Magazine (Mar. 2007) - Whispering Wind Magazine (Mar. 2007)

"CD Review -Welcome to Your Rainy Day"

Tonemah: Welcome to Your Rainy Day [Independent 2008]. It's been some time since Darryl Tonemah (Kiowa/Comanche/Tuscarora) recorded an album, but this latest project is full of the old spark that illuminated his first issued more than a decade ago. Flush with his unique style, Tonemah presents both original material and covers of Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released and "You Don't Get Much" by the BoDeans. The remaining nine songs are typical Tonemah magic that swings from melodic upbeat tempos such as "There's a Train" to songs of hopeful emotions exemplified by the track "In Grace's Eyes."The gentle acoustic resonance flows gracefully throughout the larger aspects of a full band without losing any of the direction that holds the album together from beginning to end.
-News From Indian Country - News From Indian Country


A moment in December (2013)

Mulligan (2011)
Ink Blots and Random Thoughts (2009)
Welcome to Your Rainy Day (2006)
One in Every Crowd. (2004)
A Time Like Now (2002)
Journals of my Misperceptions (2000)
The Ghosts of St. Augustine (1997)
Can You Hear Me? (1992)



Deke Tonemah was raised on the wind swept plains of the American Midwest.  If you didn't know that about him, you would have guessed as soon has you heard his music.  His tone, style and stories evoke images of open plains and big skies. He has jumped into the deep end of Americana and Folk Music. 

As a teen on the reservations of the Midwest the radio next to his bed picked up KFYR out of Bismarck North Dakota.  It played the local news and farm reports as well as the singer/songwriters of the day.  He grew up on a steady diet of Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, and Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne and the Eagles.  He stared at the radio and absorbed images set to music.  He thought, "I bet I can do that".  He borrowed his older brothers cheap guitar and taught himself to play.  Once he learned a few chords, he realized he needed to say something.  He had always had a knack for melody, and found that he wasn't a bad poet.  He told stories of people around the reservation, the thriving and struggling, and life both inside and outside of the reservation border.  From the moment he put pen to paper and pick to strings he channeled the wisdom, humor, and connectedness of Will Rogers and other great storytellers.    

Going back to his roots of early 70's southern California country rock his most recent  record “Red Dirt Remarks” awakens the country folk rocker in all of us.  He gathered three other great singers and wrote songs around their styles. From Country, blues, folk, and soul comes the Ted Dirt record Never before has there been a  Native American "supergroup".  Each singer has his own career and following.  Together the group is amazing. 

He had no idea that when he began writing songs in his basement bedroom that years later, he would have played thousands of shows, made numerous radio and TV appearances, released 9 albums with multiple awards and nominations, all while building up what has become an international fan base. The characters in his songs search for faith and hope on their journeys resonated with a large audience.  Despite his success Tonemah retains a deep connection with his roots and a gift for intimate storytelling that has become his trademark.

When recording he strives to ensure his songs are true to his vision of creating a heartfelt piece of music, touching on feelings and experiences inherent in everyone.  Each recording maintains his unpretentious singing style, with honest  lyrics.  "It is a challenge trying to put everything I want to say or express into a 4 minute song. I think that it's important that each line is significant, like a movie short. In a movie short everything on screen has some symbolic value." Tonemah has received airplay in dozens of  markets throughout the US, Canada, and Europe boosted by his song "Pow-wow Snag", and a review calling his cd
"Welcome to your Rainy Day"- a Masterpiece. 

Tonemah's live shows whether with a full band of hardcore troubadours or an intimate acoustic set always find him connecting with his audience. A singer/songwriter in the purest sense, Tonemah's performances combine the energy of rock, the intelligence of folk and the heart of country, to create a musical niche he calls, "Native Americana." At times the trickster, at times the son, at times the father, at times the seeker, Tonemah is always the consummate storyteller who offers meaning where the listener needs to find it. Tonemah co-producer, Larry Pacheco, says it best; "During a recording project the artist usually brings ego, attitude or talent to the table, and rarely honestly lays it all out on the line. Working with Darryl Tonemah was different, he brought himself."

Just a few of Tonemah's live show highlights include performances at the the 2002 Winter Olympics, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Smithsonian Institute's Museum of the American Indian, The Native American Music Awards Show, and The New Orleans Jazz Festival. He has shared the stage with such national acts as: Foreigner, Three Dog Night, Hootie & The Blowfish, Creedence, Johnny Lang, Rusted Root & Donna The Buffalo, among others.

Tonemah says, "I enjoy the idea of expression in any way that connects people.  I love everything that comes with the process of making music, from the spark of a song idea, to seeing what will happen as the song gets its legs, to recording it, but my favorite is playing it in front of an audience and making that connection during a show, that's why it all happens".

Band Members