Cormac McCarthy: The Musical. Burly and bearded, he’s that unkempt stranger in the small-town dive bar of your imagination, spinning tipsy, just-might-be-true tales of mayhem, injustice, murder and lost love. (Appropriately enough, he provided a de facto soundtrack to much of the gritty Sons of Anarchy TV crime drama.) Apparently, being perpetually chop-massaged while singing, the about-to-crack vibrato of Smith’s otherwise commanding baritone turns his Springsteen-y blues-rock, robust folk and rambunctious alt-country compositions into intriguing tussles between story and question, vulnerability and defiance. Though poetic throughout, it’s his almost cruelly poignant, strings-sweetened slowies like “I Got You” and “Wish It Was True” that can stain entire days, however mundane, with sepia-toned, old-soul significance.
The nom de guitar of L.A. singer-songwriter Jake Smith, The White Buffalo comes on like