WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM: Whether named for the 2,000-year-old Lakota legend or the 1977 movie with Charles Bronson, songwriter Jake Smith has long been traversing the nation as The White Buffalo. And there’s plenty of underground buzz about Smith to warrant the mythical name. He appears to travel in true troubadour fashion: one man with a couple of guitars, drinking hard and singing harder. (He also looks the part, in a rustic, almost mountain-man kind of way). Smith has also apparently written hundreds of songs and toured extensively for roughly 15 years, but has recorded very little, making him something of an oral tradition incarnate. Also, one of his songs was used in a recent Wal-Mart commercial, and his deep, gritty vibrato sounded so much like Eddie Vedder’s that the spot actually caused a bit of a confused uproar amongst Pearl Jam fans. To this, add Smith’s combination of dark lyricism and country roots aesthetic, which resembles nothing remotely Californian. This modern legend-in-the-making comes to town Thursday, October 11 at SOhO, 1221 State St., Ste. 205. Call 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com for details.
HERE COMES OUR MAN: Frank Black has never been one for staying on key. He spent six years howling and roaring his way into the limelight of international rock, helping to define a decade of music with a little help from the Pixies. More than 10 years after the premature death of the band, Black has resurrected his original stage name to release Bluefinger, his first visit back to his solo days since his eponymous debut in 1993. Breathe a sigh of relief, skeptics, because Black has again demonstrated his ability to stand without the Pixies. If you’re not convinced, see for yourself when Black Francis takes to the SOhO stage alongside Eastern Conference Champions on Saturday, October 13. Call 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com.
A TASTE OF CUBA: The musical experience that is Benise’s Nights of Fire!-Cuba tour radiates extravagance from the first strum of guitar riff straight down to the bottom of the performers’ belt buckles, and when the tour stops in Santa Barbara, you can experience it for yourself. With professional dancers and a full orchestra at his side, Benise comes to the Arlington Theatre to celebrate his experiences with the Cuban culture through his personal spin on Spanish flamenco, Cuban salsa, African tribal rhythms, Argentinean tango, and Brazilian samba. Not only are Benise’s hand-picked professional dancers-affectionately dubbed “The Gitanas”-a fantastic touch, but his Havana horn section and a 10-piece orchestra ain’t too shabby either. And did we mention the production’s costume designer won a 2006 Emmy Award for her work in the show? All things considered, Benise is sure to put on a colorful and exotic stage spectacle unlike any before it, and, hey, it’s cheaper than a plane ticket. Come experience Cuba for yourself on Thursday, October 11 at the Arlington Theatre. Call 963-4408 for tickets.
THE NEXT BEST THING: Attention, Johnny Cash fanatics: The Man in Black’s long-lost brother band, Cash’d Out, is comin’ to town, and short of a miraculous resurrection, they are as close as you’re gonna get to seeing the real thing. In between tearing up the floorboards with favorites ranging from the duets with June Carter Cash to “Ring of Fire,” this San Diego quartet pays homage to the man himself with tales and trivia about the beloved late country crooner. Even while straying from the usual cover-band wig-and-makeup ensemble, the members of this outfit pride themselves on bearing an uncanny resemblance to Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Three, with a lead singer that could make you swear you were listening to-and watching-Cash himself. Don’t miss them Friday, October 12 at Velvet Jones, 423 State St. Call 965-8676 or visit velvet-jones.com for details.
ME AND MY GUITAR: Local music powerhouses Jamie Green and Ted Hoagland (of Hoagland Conspiracy fame) and out-of-towner Richard March team up for a night of intimate singing and strumming on Friday, October 12 at Muddy Waters Cafe (508 E. Haley St.) at 8 p.m. Green’s saucy blend of political protest songs and aching love ballads draws her comparisons to everyone from Dido and Alanis Morissette to Ben Harper and Tori Amos. Meanwhile, Hoagland’s rough yet upbeat vocal stylings manage to succeed in blending the sounds of Bob Dylan and Jack Johnson. Finally, Sacramento’s own country crooner, March, takes to the stage with a whole slew of new folksy Americana tunes. March is currently touring in support of his recently released album, Levee Road. Together, the three promise to put on a night of powerful stripped-down tunes that’s not to be missed. Visit myspace.com/muddycafesb for details.