Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Lies/Liars: Wish it Was True

If I get a platform, no matter how small, I think I should use it. So, in reverence—I don’t know if that's the right word—I give you something beautiful and plaintive, suffused of subtle anger, a gorgeous song about lies. Lies we tell ourselves, lies that get told to us, that we have little choice other than to believe.

Wish it Was True, by the White Buffalo, is a gorgeous, end of the night, head against the wall wish that begs for more explanation than it offers--a dark, acoustic prayer, a rising hymn to heaven that asks not for help, but for answers. 

The White Buffalo serves as the band name/moniker for singer/songwriter Jake Smith. You’ve heard him if you are a fan of Sons of Anarchy. The White Buffalo plays plaintive, gorgeous, cowboy-sense-driven Americana rock. The songs are propelled by amazing, old-time-feel band, working in a unique, but traditional country western-sound scape. The White Buffalo are making true modern country western, while paying their altar boy-dues to a classic tradition. “Wish it Was True” is an  elegiac ballad, sung like a last breath effort on a death bed, asking various players why they didn’t tell the truth, saving the most pointed accusation for the speaker’s own country. It's the kind of song you have to listen to again and again, if only to feel along to Smith's simple, yet reaching lament in the song's gorgeous crescendo. This is a late night wish without an answer, heartbreaking in its honesty. He asks for polish to a 'blood and a bruise'--but there is no answer to the lies that were told, and the song shows that if we believe too much, too earnestly, we'll only end up "thrown away when you're through..." 

The White Buffalo are a modern cowboy band who transcends frontier and shame anything Nashville is passing off as ‘country-rock’ these days. Jake Smith is a gorgeous baritone with the sense and soul of a poet; his band has a thick, hillbilly backbone that grooves and pops like you’d want and expect of the most backwoods, front porch outfit. This is a true crossover band that ought to get a lot more listens than it does…a few more shootouts, a few more badass gangs riding into town, and you might just see Smith and Co. stalking down the sundown-lit street, come to gunsling you to safety. 

If you dig White Buffalo, then you have to listen to Smith's transcendent cover "The House of the Rising Sun" as well as this absolutely un-ironic cover of  the '80s metal tear-jerker  "House of Pain" by Faster's f@#$ing great...

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