[16 February 2011]
The White Buffalo (nee Jacob Smith) is a big, bearded man with a big, broken heart that’s overflowing with feeling. He’s the kind of guy who just has to pour out his soul to strangers by busking in a half-empty subway station. On Prepare For Black and Blue, Smith, armed with only his acoustic guitar, draws bleak sketches of the dumped with “Love Song #2” and the self-medicating with “John Jameson”. The latter’s opening, “Curse you Jameson, you have destroyed me once again, but I need you now” is a concise storyteller’s line on an album full of ‘em. There’s the possibly murderous “Oh Darlin’ What Have I Done”. Hell, even the narrator of “Into the Sun”, who has escaped his dead-end hometown, doesn’t seem to be any happier on the road. There are no happy endings here. Spare and unflinching over the course of five songs, Smith is a songwriter unafraid to cut to the bone.