If you're a Sons of Anarchy fan, then the chances are good you're already familiar with The White Buffalo, whose twang-drench reworking of the folk-blues chestnut "House of the Rising Sun" appeared in the finale to season four. The free download offered here, a meditation on childhood in suburbia titled "BB Guns and Dirtbikes," is cut from a slightly different cloth (less pathos, more rollicking punch). Yet the tune's success ultimately pivots on the same attribute: singer-songwriter Jake Smith's deep, brooding bass and uncanny ability to evoke comparisons to a host of country and folk legends, from Waylon Jennings to Tom Waits.
A child of Southern California, Smith adopted the alias The White Buffalo in part because it's a creature embodying the unique mythology that emerged as America marched beyond the Mississippi. It's this very mythology that plays a defining role on his most recent album, Once Upon a Time in the West. As with "BB Guns and Dirtbikes," each tune stars a cast of characters that were drawn from the well of memories that is the nation's collective unconscious. Because of this, Smith's brand of Americana possesses a striking intimacy, as if he's an old friend you never knew you had. – Justin Fararr, Google Play
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