Americana in 2017 can take on several forms, from the denim-clad wide-brimmed hat parties of the Stagecoach to fare that aligns itself with the current administration, but Geoff Gibbons delivers a more keenly Western approach to the genre that fundamentally prevails. On Buffalo Hotel, Gibbons evokes more than just a rustic and appropriate theme for country-western, but a rousing trip into a past zeitgeist.
Gibbons is an idealist in a most delightful sense. Buffalo Hotel inhabits the space of bare-bones country imagery that can feel downright frightening to a much more ebullient sense of being that feel like some real deal saloon tunes. Gibbons also does well to incorporate a traditional south of the border oeuvre on a track like “Hard Hard Rain.” There’s a hint of Levon and Garth on the record as well, “Me and Buffalo Bill” has a distinct Last Waltz sense of longing to it.
An interesting vocalist to say the least, Gibbons takes on a slight twang to match an equally springy backing track. “Blinded By Tumbleweeds” combines all three necessary factors of Gibbons’ success – a cowboy’s singing voice, a delicate yet fun guitar riff and a title that conjures up a spaghetti western film cell. Gibbons sounds like a poet more than anything, a fact that he uses to his advantage quite well. His music has more teeth to it than the fellas in Cowboys and Indians mag, and surely Gibbons has more brains than to create within a space so culturally outdated, but the singer-songwriter nonetheless captures the appeal of the open range.
Does one want to live alongside Gibbons in the world created within Buffalo Hotel or enjoy the novelty of it from afar? It’s not difficult to wish to dive right in alongside Gibbons, for even his broken heart and wayward feelings sounds appealing.