white buffalo

Jake Smith, otherwise known as The White Buffalo, released his 3rd studio LP on February 12th. Love and the Death of Damnation is easy listening – it sits somewhere on the spectrum of Americana, with an air that is a little bit folksy, with a pinch of country and rock.

The lyrics ‘Go The Distance’ certainly put a smile on my face;

You’re not just my woman
You’re a piece of ass
Sittin’ right at home on a bar stool
You can hold your liquor
But you can’t shoot pool

There are unexpected layers to the record, ‘Radio With No Sound’ is 3.22 minutes of dark crooning, but it is followed by ‘Home Is In Your Arms’ which lifts the tempo from its first beat and has a head-nodding hook that I imagine at least one country bride will be having her first dance to.

Smith not only looks as though he belongs on Sons of Anarchy, his songs have featured on the show nine times thus far. Having not picked up a guitar till the rather late age of 19, Smith has certainly found music a rather prolific past-time. He was also recently the topic of an Ernie Ball documentary series, “Capturing The White Buffalo: The Recording of an American Songwriter”. You can watch the series here: http://www.ernieball.com/whitebuffalo.

Smith says about Love and the Death of Damnation:

“With this album, I really wanted to get back to songs… I wanted to get back to writing individual stories, as opposed to an extended narrative.  I wanted each song to make you feel something.  In the past, the songs have almost always been pretty dark.  But this time, I was also able to channel some happier stuff and write a couple of actual feel-good songs.”

Smith really has managed to write an album that feels as though it is a collection of narratives, 14 tracks that each contain their own story – yet feel as though they have a common thread. Love in the Death of Damnation is a good Sunday afternoon album, the kind of thing you can happily have in the background while mindless chores need doing before lunch, but also, your dad would probably like it.

3/5