Mad Buffalo is the stage name for Montana’s Randy Riviere, who teams up here with some dozen backing musicians to offer a set of country and alt-country tunes ranging from the memorable to the meh. Album opener “Be Here Tomorrow” benefits from a hummable melody and an underlying wistfulness, while “Emily,” the best song on the record, carries an understated urgency that is never allowed to boil over into melodrama. Closer “Shiloh” is a haunting tune that shows off Riviere’s voice to good effect. In between, though, are several by-the-numbers country romps that are flatter than a Nebraska cornfield, including a pair of Johnny Cash wannabes (“Big Joe Walker” and “Tides”) that just leave you wishing you were hearing someone else. That’s never a good thing. Riviere has enough originality and songwriting chops to dispense with the clichés; let’s hope he does so next time around.
Mad Buffalo: Red and Blue