The White Buffalo
Once Upon A Time In The West
4.5 out of 5 stars
The White Buffalo (Jake Smith) has a phenomenally huge voice. Hearing it is like wrapping yourself in a heavy, warm blanket, or for that matter, maybe a buffalo hide.
The Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter’s voice comes across like a deeper, richer version of Eddie Vedder’s voice (probably because they both use falsettos so effortlessly). Backing this voice is songwriting that is equally engaging, deep and soulful.
Smith first caught my ear in 2009 with his album Hogtied Revisited and last year blew my mind with his EP Prepare for Black and Blue. This release is a bit more refined, like the singer cleaned things up and put on a pretty new shirt for this full-length release. Despite that best-foot-forward presentation, the rawness of Smith’s voice hasn’t been dulled in the slightest — thank God.
Just like the opening line to the album’s final track says, “I’m not like all the others. They’re too polished for words. All plastic parts in search for perfect 10s.” But Smith’s voice is a perfect 10, and the fact that he’s from L.A. and is not some plastic, polished entertainer makes it that much better.
— Brian F. Johnson