Red Light Management

The White Buffalo

thewhitebuffalo.com/

Artist Bio

“I’ve always taken great pleasure in being difficult to categorize,” says the White Buffalo’s big-voiced frontman, Jake Smith. Since releasing his first album in 2002, Smith has explored the grey area between genres, carving out a sound rooted in dark folk, countrified soul, cinematic storytelling and roadhouse-worthy rock. He keeps things unclassifiable on the White Buffalo’s sixth album, Darkest Darks, Lightest Lights, the most hard-hitting, electrified album of his career.

Although recorded in Smith’s hometown of Los Angeles, where he grew up listening to the country twang of George Jones and the pissed-off punk of Bad Religion, Darkest Darks, Lightest Lights looks to the passion and punch of The White Buffalo’s live shows for inspiration. Smith has been a road warrior for more than a decade, doubling as his own tour manager along the way. Gig after gig, he’s built a cult following without major label support, boosting his band’s international visibility with more than a dozen TV-worthy songs — including the Emmy-nominated “Come Join the Murder” — that were featured on shows like Sons of Anarchy and Californication.

“I’m kind of an island,” he says proudly. “We tour on our own and have built our own fanbase, so the idea with this album was to capture that live feel — the passion that we produce in a stage setting — in a studio performance.”

Island or not, Darkest Darks, Lightest Lights finds Smith reaching far beyond his own experience for a string of detailed, character-driven songs. Many of these tunes explore the gloomy, dangerous corners of America, spinning stories of sinners, crooks, bad decisions and broken hearts. On “Border Town/Bury Me in Baja,” a drug dealer awaits his death at the hands of the Mexican mafia. “Avalon,” a desperate, driving anthem worthy of Bruce Springsteen, finds its protagonist “wishing he could flip a switch [and] turn his life around.” “Nightstalker Blues” — an amped-up blast of harmonica-filled, guitar-fueled roots rock — revolves around the story of serial killer Richard Ramirez, whose murder spree haunted southern California during the mid-Eighties.

As the album’s own title promises, though, this is a record about balance. A record about life’s downs and ups. “I wanted to hit all the emotional spots,” explains Smith, whose voice — a booming, rumbling baritone, with a slight quaver that can sound ominous one minute and warmhearted the next — takes a tender turn during love songs like “Observatory” and “If I Lost My Eyes.”

Together, Darkest Darks, Lightest Lights offers up the White Buffalo’s strongest material to date, doubling down on Smith’s strengths while pushing his sound into new territory. Stripped-down folk. Electrified swamp-soul. Heartland rock. Bluesy boogie-woogie. It’s all here, tied together by the super-sized vocals and articulate songwriting of a bandleader whose work is sometimes moody, sometimes menacing, but always melodic.

“My hope is that this album will touch people,” he says. “Make people feel. The good, the bad, and the ugly. The darkest darks, and the lightest lights.”

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Tour Dates

May 24 2019
Belly Up
Solana Beach, CA
May 25 2019
Belly Up
Solana Beach, CA
Jun 22 2019
Anchorage Brewing Company
Anchorage, AK
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Jul 07 2019
Solhällan Löderup
Löderup, Sweden
Jul 08 2019
Fåfängan
Stockholm, Sweden
Jul 09 2019
Liseberg
Johanneberg, Sweden
Jul 11 2019
Paradiso
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Jul 12 2019
Doornroosje
Nijmegen, Netherlands
Jul 14 2019
Bospop '19: 12 - 14 juli
Weert, Netherlands
Jul 16 2019
Carroponte
Sesto San Giovanni, Italy
Jul 17 2019
Astimusica
Asti, Italy
Jul 26 2019
Sisters Rhythm & Brews Festival
Sisters, OR
Jul 28 2019
Red Ants Pants Music Festival
White Sulphur Springs, MT
Aug 01 2019
Irvine Regional Park
Orange, CA
Sep 21 2019
Bourbon and Beyond
Louisville, KY