On The Widow's Walk
The fact that singer-songwriter Jake Smith took on The White Buffalo as his performing identity when he started recording in the early 2000s betrayed his interest in the myth-making potential of music. Up until On the Widow’s Walk, produced by Shooter Jennings, the brooding and prophesying in Smith’s songs and the graveness of his delivery were often given stark folk-rock accompaniment. But working with Jennings, who also filled in on keyboard and piano, has made Smith’s latest set more sinewy, even spry. During "Cursive," he makes a dramatic waltz-time gesture of mourning old-time romance and decorum, and during "The Rapture," his apocalyptic vision steadily gathers steam, punctuated by wolfish howls and guitar noise. Smith sounds almost wry about the pursuit of storybook fulfillment over the laidback loping of "Come On Shorty." "Why did you kick my heart in?" he complains with leisurely syncopation. "I'm gonna ride my horse into the setting sun/Well, I want a happy ending, gonna get me one."