The White Buffalo
Prepare for Black & Blue
Ruffshod Records / Nettwerk
There’s hope for eloquent folk/country, and this simple and moody EP is as good an example as you might find. The White Buffalo lineup is mysterious, but after some digging I can report that the lead vocals come from one Jake Smith, and he’s backed by Tommy Andrews on bass and you might hear a whisper of Matt Lynott on drums. Smith is in the driver’s seat; he lays down an acoustic rhythm and sings while Andrews offers a discreet electric guitar for emphasis at key points. The mournful vocals ask the tough questions like “Oh darlin’, what have I done?” and provide tougher answers like “Pack your shit, we’re through.” There’s a story arc here.
By the end of these five simple songs Smith is living on the street and cursing a major distiller, and his vocals drag your heart along on his desperate journey down a rocky road. All you can do for him is keep listening and keep on crying. Somehow, these songs are more painful than anything Hank Williams Sr. ever wrote, slicker than anything his son played, and more significant than anything his grandson will ever write.