Everything about singer/songwriter Jake Smith is larger than life-his evocative pseudonym, his towering stage presence, his emotive songs. And while adopting the moniker The White Buffalo might have offered the Los Angeles-based musician the chance to grow and evolve under a cloak of anonymity, it has also allowed him to take his music around the world. From venues in Santa Barbara to festivals Europe, this White Buffalo is definitely on the roam.
Recently, Smith has been wandering the prairies and ranges of the United States, along with venturing as far as Japan and Australia. Taking his music to the world is an experience that Smith relishes, but his affinity for performing live seems to have come at a cost. With just one EP to his name, the White Buffalo’s recorded endeavors tend to languish in exchange for his tour schedule. But, apparently that is all about to change.
“I had an early effort at a full length maybe five years ago,” explained Smith. “But I discontinued that. I am actually going in to mix this weekend, so within the next couple of months I will be putting out a new/old full-length. It will have some songs off that original recording I did : and some songs that are new.”
Considering how much the EP has resonated among fans and critics, this new release comes highly anticipated. And with the plan to revisit so much older material, there’s no doubt that the recording process will be an interesting one to watch.
“I think the songs are great and they deserve a life of their own,” offered Smith. “But I wasn’t real happy with the life they had on that other recording. I was pretty green when I went in to record it, you know? It didn’t really have the balls or guts that I wanted it to. All the songs were there, it [just] wasn’t how I wanted them to exist for eternity. So this new record has some of the songs off that album and is doing justice to them.”
Through embracing these earlier compositions, the new album will be yet another step in the very organic musical evolution of The White Buffalo. Soon after picking up the guitar as a teen, Smith began to write songs. “They just started happening for no reason, really,” he recalled. “They were these dark little two-chord songs, and my mom was like ‘Holy shit. What is this that you’re doing, here?’ But now I have been doing it really seriously for the last five years.”
Today, the unpredictable nature of White Buffalo performances has allowed Smith to keep things fresh from show to show. But whether he is playing a headlining show with his backing band, or in solo support mode, the focus is one in the same. “Whenever I play, I try to bring it. I’m never kicking back,” Smith affirmed. “When you are headlining your own show, or doing your own thing, it’s your own fans coming out, and you’re not really gaining much on your fan base. So it’s great when you play in front of a couple thousand people and only two of those people know who you are. Often, the opening band is a tough slot, and more times than not, I end up winning them over.”
The White Buffalo will play SOhO (1221 State St.) with Timmy Curran on Thursday, November 6, at 9 p.m. Call 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com for details and ticket info.