William Munoz

(Missoula Current) The White Buffalo has been put in a number of genres ranging from country to blues, alternative country to folk and roots rock.

The pandemic challenged Jake Smith, who is The White Buffalo, like many other musicians, to look at music in an entirely different way. He put aside his guitar, “got a synthesizer and began writing on it, not really knowing how to play keys, just exploring the different sounds and landscapes.”

This allowed him to find new ways to craft songs. Smith then got his regular touring mates, drummer Matt Lynott and keyboard- guitarist Christopher Hoffee, along with producer Jay Joyce, who owns Neon Cross Studio in East Nashville, together.

The White Buffalo at the Wilma. (William Munoz/Missoula Current)
The White Buffalo at the Wilma. (William Munoz/Missoula Current)

Over 11 days they recorded the latest album from The White Buffalo, "Year of the Dark Horse," which Smith describes as “...a sonic and lyrical journey of one lunar year in one man's life. Four seasons in 12 songs ... I wanted to show the seasonal effect on the heart and mind. I also wanted to abandon, socially, everything. Escape the acoustic clutches and genres I've been associated with and shackled to.”

Jake Smith has a distinctive baritone voice that causes his songs to resonate deep within a listener's psyche. Much like Leonard Cohen, his voice is vital to bringing the lyric alive with emotion.

In “She Don't Know That I Lie,” there's a circus feel that brings the story he's telling about a meeting of “the girl in black by the doorway” of the bar. “She leapt across the bar and our lips met like the beaches of D-Day.”

Then the bitter sweetness of “Love Song #3”

“I got your scent on my pillow/ Oh how it lingers and lingers/ I breathe you in sweet and slow...”

“And love can mend your heart/ Dry your trears and set soaring/ And love and only love/ Can break your heart/ Leave you mourning/ Only time will tell”

It is difficult to put a label on this album only that Jake Smith continues to make great songs. Life Goes On