O2 Academy Shepherd's Bush
20th January 2017
On the day of the most controversial US presidential inauguration in history, The White Buffalo reminds us of a reason to continue to be proud of and inspired by America. The United States has spawned some of the most gifted songwriters and musicians to ever grace this Earth, Carol King, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, you could go on and on. Jake Smith is a name that could rank alongside. Here is a songwriter who too writes poetic music that will touch your soul.
Americana and country music are now big business in the U.K. with all aspects of American music taking a hold and making a continued impact; from artists like Gretchen Peters and American Young to The Royal Southern Brotherhood. At a White Buffalo concert you won't find sequins and Stetsons, you'll find stories of love and loss, of war and humanity and you'll find songs that are instantly relatable.
The White Buffalo takes on the mantel of the Everyman: the country style troubadour who writes for the people. No matter what your political persuasion, race, gender or religion, there is always solidarity in music. It's no surprise that there is a blend of people in the audience, metal fans, blues fans, country fans of all ages joining together to absorb themselves in this music.
The waltz inspired Radio With No Sound from his latest album Love and The Death Of Damnation, eases the audience in with an honest tale of boyhood to adulthood. Things get gritty with the retrospective When I'm Gone. Dark Days picks things up midway through followed by the rousing torch song Come Join The Murder. With chants of Buff-a-lo in between songs from the packed house, there's little chit chat from the man himself who maintains a steadfast focus on the songs and taking us from one emotion to another.
Whether ruminating on the dark side or the joys of love, this is a writer who understands the human condition in a way that Bob Dylan does, albeit with a better vocal ability. Speaking of vocals Smith's wonderful vibrato filled baritone has a way of resonating deep within in you. Take tracks like the gravel toned The Pilot and the rawness of I Got You, one of the best love songs written since Hey There Delilah, just shows his versatility as an artist.
With his fan base firmly secured on this side of the pond thanks to his remarkable wordsmithery, wherever the Buffalo roams there will be an audience captivity waiting to hear his call. Rest assured, The White Buffalo has made Americana great again.