For his third album Jake Smith AKA The White Buffalo had a desire to get back to the songs and tell stories in the vain of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash and Steve Earle. It's an endeavour that has paid off ten fold. Love and The Death Of Damnation is an outstanding Americana album. From the cajun flavour of Chico to the standard country feel of Fantasy and everything in between, this album is certainly all about the songs.
Go The Distance is an outrageous outlaw country track. It's full of bravado and although it's a little crass at times, you can't deny that behind the machismo the sentiment is pure and the guy can write one hell of a love song. This honesty is echoed in the bitter-sweet country ballad I Got You. Smith doesn't write about hearts and flowers and hokey romance schmaltz, but about the un-sanitised truth of love. Where Is Your Saviour continues these heartfelt themes positing that the reality of love isn't in some religious figure or at the end of a rainbow, but in family and loved ones right in front of us. It's a bold and touching track which certainly cements Smith's ability to write a brilliant track. He has also become as master of his baritone vocals and uses the timbre of his pipes to create raw sexuality, tender meaning and a compulsive half spoken narrative that draws your ear to his work like a moth to a flame.
Rocky is another dirty outlaw rock track with a hard edge, great lyrics and driving force of a guitar that penetrates through the song. In contrast, Darkside Of Town is a simple track with some mild percussion, guitar and infused with soft harmonies; regardless of the arrangement of the songs the stories are allowed to shine through without the production dominating. Smith is a gifted raconteur and a new treasure to the long American tradition of telling tales and spinning yarns. The future of the American songbook is certainly safe in The White Buffalo's hands.