Love and the Death of Damnation

The White Buffalo

(Digital Download - Unison Music Group #)

Review by Thom Jurek

Love and the Death of Damnation follows the White Buffalo's (aka Jake Smith) celebrated song cycle Shadows, Greys & Evil Ways, about an Iraq War veteran's complex return to society. This set is more conventional in scope; its 11 songs aren't unified thematically but still offer uncommonly strong storytelling. Smith's protagonists are almost always marginal characters and his songs offer them voices without judgment. He presents these tales in an imaginative musical palette. He ranges from edgy Americana ("Last Call to Heaven," "I Got You") to alt-country ("Dark Days," "Home Is in Your Arms") and raw roots rock & roll ("Modern Times"). Along the way are unexpected production touches -- mariachi horns in "Chico," a jazzy trumpet solo in "Last Call to Heaven" -- that add depth to his stories and dimension to his characters.

blue highlight denotes track pick