The White Buffalo “Shadows, Greys & Evil Ways”
The White Buffalo are actually singer/songwriter Jake Smith who as well as his album release has also provided some tracks for the awesome TV Show Sons Of Anarchy (a series you MUST watch if you haven’t done so yet!). This album, as well as having some great songs, is also like a journey through American music and life.
The album opens with the gentle and easy “Shall We Go On” which has a country style strum to it, as does “The Getaway” where there is a surprisingly fragile sounding vocal delivery. After that gentle intro, “When I’m Gone” with it’s in your face lyrics and more upbeat sound comes as a bit of a shock. The connection of the artist with Sons of Anarchy doesn’t come as a surprise though when you hear this number. It’s a tune built to accompany an outlaws life story. As is “Joey White” which is a slightly more raucous number that would probably accompany a bar room brawl scene!
We return to a more pensive mood with “The Whistler” which is a slow and brooding song and whilst “Set My Body Free” keeps the sound lower key, it still has a feel of the Wild West about it. “Redemption #2” is like the plea of a dying cowboy and is a raw and emotional song. “This Year” continues the self-reflection but has a greater feeling of joy and celebration to it which helps to lift the album, partly due to the lighter tone and use of an organ. It has a similar effect on “Don’t You Want It” which despite the downbeat lyrical theme is actually one of the more buoyant songs on the album. The emphasis, however, is certainly on the more wistful and melancholy songs such as “Pray To You Now”.
This is one of those albums that sets a mood and tone for its listener and is designed to be listened to at the right time and place. It’s not a throw it on and get the party going anywhere release. Ideally it would be sitting on a back porch with a bottle of bourbon as the sun fades. If you don’t have that luxury and are stuck in the UK, we would suggest you wait for a cold winters evening, sat at your kitchen table with a blazing fire and a bottle of whisky to keep you warm. You can then raise a toast with each song to the characters and hard luck stories they contain.