The White Buffalo’s highly anticipated full-length follow up to Shadows, Greys & Evil Ways is Love and The Death of Damnation. If you never heard of The White Buffalo, the band sounds like if Richie Havens, Steve Earle, Mike Ness and Eddie Vedder put a band together. Still interested? Well you should because this is an awesome album!
Jake Smith, a.k.a. The White Buffalo, has such a powerful singing voice and is a terrific songwriter. I guess I should be calling him Emmy-nominated Jake Smith since he’s up for one this year for the outstanding track “Come Join The Murder” from Sons of Anarchy. I’ve only been a fan for over a year but this album is everything I hope it would be and then some!
As much as I liked his previous concept album, this one is more in line with Once Upon A Time in the West and just so so good. The first track “Dark Days” gets everything rolling to an awesome start. I can just picture The White Buffalo playing behind fenced in stage at some dive bar in California, and people are throwing beer glasses at them like in The Blues Brothers. “Chico” has that Americana sound that The White Buffalo is known for, but it’s got a bit of Southern California/Mexican flavor to it as well. There’s even some horns on the track, which I think would be great if he had more of that in his songs (he does again in the last song).
“Go The Distance” is one of my favorites on the album. It’s something about the lyrics that put a smile on my face. The way Jake howls “peckerwood” is just amusing to me. The song itself is an excellent honky tonk song that I hope gets some airplay but since he curses in it a bit, I doubt that will happen. “Home is in Your Arms” and “Modern Times” will most likely be his singles, because they are the other stand-outs on the new album. “Home is in Your Arms” is similar to “Go The Distance” in structure but “Modern Times” is more up-tempo. You can definitely tell that punk music is an influence to Jake.
Besides the fast tunes, there’s some somber and sad songs on the album. Usually I would skip some of these tracks if they were done by someone else but not with the White Buffalo. “Radio with No Sound” is such a unique tune in that it’s Jake with minimal music, and his deep voice singing. The way he finishes verses, it sounds like the audio is slowing down and about to go in reverse. If that makes any sense. The press release says it’s similar to Tom Waits and I can definitely see that. Jake sings a duet with Audra Mae on the track “I Got You,” which was nice to hear. The end of the album has some more slower songs and finishes up with “Come On Come On In.” It’s a soulful, gospel blues song and it’s got horns, an organ and loud howls from Jake. The singing is very Joe Cocker, so add him to the list of musicians I listed in the opening paragraph. Put your hands up and sway, and enjoy this mighty fine album from the White Buffalo. Fantastic stuff!
Bottom Line: Americana doesn’t get much better than this!
Notable Tracks: Dark Days, Go The Distance, Radio with No Sound, Home is in Your Arms, Modern Times