(Photo Credit - Cheyenne Ellis)
Advance Review - The White Buffalo: On the Widow's Walk (April 17, 2020)
The White Buffalo (AKA Jake Smith) has one of the most unique vocal styles in modern music. His gravely baritone can reach heights not often associated with this vocal style. Smith's deep drawl to his vocals pops off the album in a way that Eddie Vedder's did back in the early 90's. But this is so much warmer than that. The ending result is the perfect blend of blues, rock, and Americana. Smith brings his unique vocals and his penchant for making blues rock infused Americana to his new album On the Widow's Walk. For the uninitiated, I highly recommend giving The White Buffalo a listen and what better place to start than with brand new music?
Smith starts On the Widow's Walk off with one of his patented rock infused jams titled "Problem Solution". You feel right at home as Smith and company rock away on this track, it's a hell of an opener. He follows this up with "The Drifter", it's a slowed-down ballad that is also familiar for fans of The White Buffalo. Smith's vocals run thick like molasses over the warm rhythm of acoustic guitar, piano, and drum. It's a stunner stuck right at the beginning of the album. On "Sycamore" he delicately yarns about the feeling of missing someone.
What I don't want to do is spoil all of the songs for you in this review. Rather, let's talk about what On the Widow's Walk represents. It brings a sense of home for me. It's the Appalachian Mountains calling out to me when it comes down to it. Maybe to you it's the heart of Texas, the bayous of Louisiana, or the great forests of Oregon. What matters most is that it's roots music at its finest and it reminds us of home. Smith can weave a tale with the best of them with his lyrics. He sings of love, freedom, loss, and the realities of daily life and he does it seemingly effortlessly. Smith's music is powerful, captivating, and downright life changing for people. For me, it was 2005's "The Matador" which I first heard on the long-gone TV series Sons of Anarchy. What I'm trying to say is you remember the first time you heard The White Buffalo. I remember not giving a damn what happened in the TV show, I just had to know who was singing the song playing in the background. I've been a fan ever since.
With On the Widow's Walk, Smith is going to inspire an entire new generation of fans. With solid tracks like "The Drifter", "Cursive", "Widow's Walk", and "The Rapture", On the Widow's Walk is the album that Americana fans have been searching for in 2020. And it's available everywhere on Friday. So I implore you, give it a listen when it drops.
Rating - 5/5