When Jake Smith went to the studio to record his latest LP under the auspices of his musical alter ego, White Buffalo, he did something he’d never done before: He decided to record with barely any music written. For a man whose songwriting and distinctive baritone voice are his hallmarks, it was a leap of faith.
“I had four or five ideas but I wasn’t super secure with them. I was like, ‘F*** it, let’s start Wednesday.’ Then it just started flowing,” says Smith. The resulting 10-song album, Darkest Darks, Lightest Lights, was built from the ground up in less than six weeks. “I think it helped establish a little more urgency with the album. The songwriting process was a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants situation.”
Produced by Smith’s longtime collaborators, Bruce Witkin and Ryan Dorn, Darkest Darks, Lightest Lights is an appropriate title for a record that stands as White Buffalo’s most stylistically rich collection of songs. Rocking one minute and ripping your heart out the next, it’s an album of contrasts, a trait that stems from Smith’s impromptu studio approach.