About The White Buffalo
The White Buffalo is the professional moniker and stage name of American musician and singer/songwriter Jake Smith.
Born in Oregon in 1974/1975, and raised in California, Jake Smith grew up listening to country music and punk rock. He studied history at university. The largest influences on his songwriting are folk singers such as Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.
A baritone, Smith is known for his wide range in pitch within his singing, incorporation of whistling into his music and his lyrical references to God and war. His singing style has been compared to that of late singer-songwriter Richie Havens.
The White Buffalo's first full-length album, Hogtied Like a Rodeo, debuted in 2002. This was followed by The White Buffalo EP, produced by Eels' Koool G Murder, which Smith states is about "relationships, love, loss and booze with a little murder mixed in." This EP was musically grounded in acoustic folk and country blues. In a friend's living room in 2008, he re-recorded the first album, dubbing it Hogtied Revisited. Musically, this 2008 album was a blend of folk, modern rock, and alternative country.
When a bootleg tape of Smith's music made it into the hands of pro surfer Chris Malloy, one of his songs, "Wrong," was featured in his popular surf movie, Shelter. This eventually led to further film scoring and composing work, with many of his songs featured in FX's hit show Sons of Anarchy and Showtime's Californication.
In 2010, a second EP, Prepare for Black and Blue, was recorded in six days by producer Jimmy Messer and released through Chad Stokes' Ruffshod imprint via Nettwerk Records earlier that year. Again, this was musically grounded in folk. The music and the artist captured the attention of Unison Music's Bruce Witkin and Ryan Dorn, who then signed The White Buffalo and co-produced Once Upon a Time in the West. This album transitioned to a more roots rock sound, whilst some songs still retained a folk style.
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