The White Buffalo at Zanzabar in Louisville, KY 13-FEB-2018

The White Buffalo treats Louisville fans to a gripping performance at Zanzabar in Louisville, with support from Andrea Davidson.

By the time the doors opened, there was a line of fans stretching down the street. It was a largely local crowd peppered with die-hard fans who traveled from out of the area, all standing in the cold waiting to experience something truly great, and they did not leave disappointed. Jake Smith, the singer/songwriter known as The White Buffalo, walked on stage and for roughly 2 hours held his audience in his grasp. While not exactly a household word, having several songs used in Sons of Anarchy, notably “Come Join the Murder” from the series finale, have increased his exposure and his following. 

The show began with the opening track of the 2017 release The Darkest Darks, Lightest Lights, “Hide and Seek”, a song with a blues-rock, country-flavored vibe that gets the crowd engaged from the get-go. For the 3rd song,  “One Lone Night”, drummer Matt Lynott and Ryan Rehm on bass join Jake Smith on stage for the rest of the main set, adding a fullness to the music while retaining the intimate feel of this singer and his songs. 

The White Buffalo is the ultimate storyteller, writing narratives such as “Avalon”, “Border Town” and the toe-tapper “Joe and Jolene” each featuring vignettes straight out of Americana, characters who are down and out, seeking redemption and a glimmer of hope. He is a narrator with stories that resonate with both passionate and casual fans. While there is a definite darkness to many of the tunes performed, such as “The Whistler”, The White Buffalo took the crowd through the gamut of emotions including the uniquely positive “Go the Distance”, the contemplative “The Observatory” and the love song, “Home is Where the Heart Is”. 

Jake Smith has a rich and earthy baritone that takes these songs to another level, at times adding an ominous feel to the darkness of the lyrics, while also providing a gravelly tenderness when called for. His voice and the emotion it conveys is the perfect foil to the poetry of the lyrics and the Lousiville crowd was proof of how this music connects to people on a visceral level. They sang along, they danced and spilled their beer, couples hugged and swayed to the music, they hooted and hollered and roared their approval. During the encore, The White Buffalo performed a moving cover of Johnny Cash’s “The Highway Man” followed by his own composition “Wish It Was True”. The sheer honesty of the lyrics to this song moved several people to tears. It doesn’t get any more real than that.

Starting the night off, was Nashville resident and Louisville native, singer/songwriter, Andrea Davidson. She performed an engaging set that included her own compositions as well as an outstanding and unique take on “Feel It Still”, the current hit by Portugal. The Man. She was a one-woman band at times, playing both guitar and bass, as well as beatboxing and handling drumming duties with her feet. Her set was an excellent way to start off an excellent night of music at Zanzabar.

 

 

The White Buffalo
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Andrea Davidson
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Zanzabar
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