The White Buffalo

The White Buffalo

Suzanne Santo

Sat, Dec 09, 2017

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Showcase Lounge

$18 advance | $20 day of show

This event is all ages

The White Buffalo
The White Buffalo
"I've always taken great pleasure in being difficult to categorize," says the White Buffalo's big-voiced frontman, Jake Smith. Since releasing his first album in 2002, Smith has explored the grey area between genres, carving out a sound rooted in dark folk, countrified soul, cinematic storytelling and roadhouse-worthy rock. He keeps things unclassifiable on the White Buffalo's sixth album, Darkest Darks, Lightest Lights, the most hard-hitting, electrified album of his career.

Although recorded in Smith's hometown of Los Angeles, where he grew up listening to the country twang of George Jones and the pissed-off punk of Bad Religion, Darkest Darks, Lightest Lights looks to the passion and punch of White Buffalo's live shows for inspiration. Smith has been a road warrior for more than a decade, doubling as his own tour manager along the way. Gig after gig, he's built a cult following without a major label's support, boosting his band's international visibility with more than a dozen TV-worthy songs — including the Emmy-nominated "Come Join the Murder" — that were featured on shows like Sons of Anarchy and Californication.

"I'm kind of an island," he says proudly. "We tour on our own and have built our own fanbase, so the idea with this album was to capture that live feel — the passion that we produce in a stage setting — in a studio performance."

Island or not, Darkest Darks, Lightest Lights finds Smith reaching far beyond his own experience for a string of detailed, character-driven songs. Many of these tunes explore the gloomy, dangerous corners of America, spinning stories of sinners, crooks, bad decisions and broken hearts. On "Border Town/Bury Me in Baja," a drug dealer awaits his death at the hands of the Mexican mafia. "Avalon," a desperate, driving anthem worthy of Bruce Springsteen, finds its protagonist "wishing he could flip a switch [and] turn his life around." "Nightstalker Blues" — an amped-up blast of harmonica-filled, guitar-fueled roots rock — revolves around the story of serial killer Richard Ramirez, whose murder spree haunted southern California during the mid-Eighties.

As the album's own title promises, though, this is a record about balance. A record about life's ups and downs. "I wanted to hit all the emotional spots," explains Smith, whose voice — a booming, rumbling baritone, with a slight quaver that can sound ominous one minute and warmhearted the next — takes a tender turn during love songs like "Observatory" and "If I Lost My Eyes."

Together, Darkest Darks, Lightest Lights offers up the White Buffalo's strongest material to date, doubling down on Smith's strengths while pushing his sound into new territory. Stripped-down folk. Electrified swamp-soul. Heartland rock. Bluesy boogie-woogie. It's all here, tied together by the super-sized vocals and articulate songwriting of a bandleader whose work is sometimes moody, sometimes menacing, but always melodic

"My hope is that this album will touch people," he says. "Make people feel. The good, the bad, and the ugly. The darkest darks, and the lightest lights."
Suzanne Santo
Singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist Suzanne Santo first found fame as a member of the well-regarded Americana group HONEYHONEY before branching off into a solo career. Suzanne Santo was born Suzanne Alisa Santosuosso in Cleveland, Ohio on January 20, 1985. Santo had pursued careers as a model and actress (her credits include appearances on Law & Order, Without a Trace, and Medium) before she met Ben Jaffe at a costume party in Venice, California in 2006. The two hit it off personally and musically, and they began playing together, with Jaffe on piano, guitar, and vocals and Santo on vocals, banjo, and violin. Originally known as Zanzibar Lewis, the band has been playing out for about a year when they were signed to Ironworks, a label founded by musician Jude Cole and actor Kiefer Sutherland. Changing their name to HONEYHONEY, the duo's debut album, First Rodeo, appeared in 2008, but it would be three years before the band released their follow-up. 2011's Billy Jack appeared on the respected roots rock label Lost Highway; however, it proved to be the label's last release, as parent label Universal shuttered the imprint not long after Billy Jack appeared in stores. Jaffe and Santo changed management, undertook several low-budget tours, and self-financed their third effort, 3, which was released by Rounder Records in 2015. While HONEYHONEY remained busy, penning music for the television comedy series The Guest House, in 2017 Santo stepped out with a solo project. Produced by Butch Walker, who employed Santo as a guest musician on his 2016 album Stay Gold, Ruby Red allowed her to show off a darker and more personal side of her musical personality.
Venue Information:
Showcase Lounge
1214 Williston Road
South Burlington, VT, 05403
http://www.highergroundmusic.com/