The White Buffalo Shakes Up Genres And Concepts For ‘The Year Of The Dark Horse’

Roots music artist The White Buffalo, aka Jake Smith, has announced an eighth studio album to arrive this fall titled Year of the Dark Horse. The Oregon-born, Southern California-raised artist has completed the record with Grammy Award-winning producer Jay Joyce (Eric Church, Brothers Osborne, Fidlar) at his Neon Cross studio in Nashville. The new album challenges genre expectations, he warns.

Smith says:

You think we’re a country band? A folk band? Americana? Rock? What the fuck are you gonna say now?! With this album, I wanted something outside of what I’ve ever done. I wanted to open up. Do something dangerous. I’m hard to put into a singular genre as it is, but now I really wanted to take away any kind of preconception or pigeon-holing.

And don’t ask me, cos I don’t know what it is! It’s a genre-bending thing–there’s elements and influences from ELO, Daniel Lanois, Tom Waits, The Boss, circus, pirate music, yacht rock, and I’m driving and pushing some of these numbers in a way I’ve never done before.

Above: The White Buffalo is the alias for singer-songwriter-guitarist JAKE SMITH (pictured far right); the touring/recording band also includes Matt Lynott (pictured left) on drums, and Christopher Hoffee (pictured in mirror) on bass/keys/guitars.

Roughly based around the “shifting of the seasons paralleled with the shifting of a relationship”, there’s something of a conceptual development on the album that follows a character’s love and life, all set in a “lunar year” following this “anti-hero.” Focusing on the craft of songwriting, Smith has created 12 “musical vignettes” this time around for Year of the Dark Horse.

The White Buffalo will launch a string of Canadian dates in early September and on Friday, September 16th, 2022, will perform their first festival appearance this year at Beachlife Festival in Redondo Beach. Expect the group to announce a full Fall tour run soon.

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