Produced by David Lowery and engineered/mixed by Drew Vandenberg at Chase Park Transduction in Athens, GA, Buffalo Jones’ Standing By showcases Spokane, Washington Buffalo Jones’ alt-country indie rock and makes a strong argument for induction into your regular record rotation. Buffalo Jones is Jason Johnson (lead vocals, guitar), Brandon Humphreys (lead guitar), Andy Rumsey (bass), Joshua Martin (drums).
“Falling Down On Me” hits the road running with bristling electric guitar accompanied by thundering bass and drums. Johnson’s vocals arrive on a bed of energy humming with the intensity of a muscle car. “Easy Without You” follows with similar hit-the-highway energy reminiscent of late 90’s alt-country torch bearers The Old 97s. Comparison to other Old 97s contemporaries Slobberbone, later-era Whiskeytown, or The V-Roys are easy here, but risk pigeonholing Buffalo Jones into 90’s nostalgia revivalist. The hooks are familiar and immediately hummable, the radio-ready builds encourage window-down fist pumping, and the production is crisp, but that summary doesn’t do justice to the end result whole of the parts. “Intermission”, an album highlight, turns the straight ahead rock approach on its head with a slow bombastic build before erupting into a cacophony of release driven by Humphrey’s guitar work. “Untie your hands, lay down your cards, let me here you”, Johnson sings. “Blow on the Back,” another record high point, features Camper Van Beethoven/Cracker centerpiece David Lowery on a laid back number that brings to mind lazy afternoon sunshine.
The good times are over on “Over At The End” as Johnson sings, “Hold onto me we’re going down, crash this thing into the ground, the time for bargaining is past.” For Buffalo Jones, however, somehow hope remains, “when the smoke is clear, we’ll still be standing here, and we’ll pick up the pieces that they need, throw the rest into the sea, starting over at the end.”
Worries that alt-country had lost the fire in its belly in favor of a return to an acoustic songwriter era, worry no longer, Buffalo Jones is here to keep guitar driven alt-country rolling in high gear into the 2020’s. Catch them while you can before they embrace American Aquarium’s Burn Flicker Die ethos too whole heartedly; here’s hoping Buffalo Jones is here to stay. Snag a copy of Standing By today and jump on the Buffalo Jones train before it jumps the tracks.