The seventh album from songwriter Jake Smith, better known as The White Buffalo was released this month. As a fan of alt-country and Americana music, I’ve never actually heard one of his albums, but I intend to become familiar after listening to this release. On the Widow’s Walk is a solid country influenced record with great ballads and some uptempo, more country rock anthems. Smith’s voice is rich, full bodied like a drag off a cigarette with strong cup of black coffee. Like any good songwriter, he has a stellar storytelling ability, crafting lyrics that start the movie reels in your imagination. Songs of heartache, hardship, and darker themes. The track, “River of Love and Loss”, has a dark gothic country feel, delving into some classic themes of a lover’s demise in a river, that the surviving partner returns to filled with regret. These ominous songs would make a great soundtrack for a modern western, especially the song “Rapture”. My favorite song is called “Drifter”, which is a pretty run of the mill, broken man’s drinking song but it’s well written, emotional, and catchy.
Smith has a Steve Earle feel to his lyrical content but vocally, he is like a more gravely Sturgill Simpson or Waylon. Being a huge fan of outlaw country and the Americana singer-songwriter genre, I have high standards, because there are a lot of guys with guitars out there, but The White Buffalo is above average, and this is a good album. You can tell Smith has been at it awhile which come through in the musicianship and song crafting. If you enjoy the alternative country vibe, check out this one.