Buffalo Killers – “Ohio Grass”

Dawson White says of BUFFALO KILLERS’ latest album, “Grow out your beard, bust out your parents’ old tour shirts, and prepare to get transported back to one of the most golden ages of rock.”

Dawson White

out of 10

Buffalo Killers
Ohio Grass
August 20th, 2013
Alive Naturalsound Records

Am I allowed to refer to modern rock as classic? I’m not sure, but this is rock and roll, so I feel comfortable potentially breaking some rules. Buffalo Killers’ expanded rerelease of Ohio Grass would be just as at home on your local classic rock station as it would more current rock broadcasts.

Actually, that’s not entirely true.

The Cincinnati-based Buffalo Killers major in ‘60s blues rock and minor in the psychedelic. They own their genres, wielding classic chord progressions and robust vocals like all-powerful weapons against “the man.” That said, Ohio Grass treads on ground already broken. Remaining uninfluenced by the past/present blend perfected by Let It Ride’s producer, Dan Auerbach (of the Black Keys), the men of Buffalo Killers chose to keep their sound free of any modern trends or influences, opting, instead, for what could be described as a well-composed homage to a genre decades past.

photo by Erin Volk

photo by Erin Volk

But so long as you’re not looking for the hot, new, abstract sound with which to out-hipster your friends, that retro purity is just what the doctor ordered. Buffalo Killers nail the down-and-dirty genre so convincingly, there’s part of you that can’t help but entertain the thought they’re some modern incarnation of the past masters. “Grow Your Own” runs the risk of being mistaken as a long-lost track from The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Are You Experienced? The slow groover “Golden Eagle” boasts crystal clear guitar riffs ringing against the rolling, mellow waves of a reggae influence. In “Good Feeling” you’ll find a quintessential 4th of July jam; its lively, pure ‘60s instrumentation and freedom-claiming lyrics beg you to throw some burgers on the grill, pop open a couple brewskis, and bask in the sun by your neighbor’s pool while the kids across the street set off bottle rockets. Not a single song leaves you wanting, however, the recording qualities of the album’s three live songs leave much to be desired (though one might argue it adds to the authenticity of Ohio Grass’s yesteryear sound).

With dashes of the Stones, Jimi, Clapton, and nearly undetectable traces of Creedence and the Dead, Buffalo Killers usher the best of blues and psychedelic rock into 2013. You’ll find them at their only scheduled southern show at Newport, KY’s Southgate House Revival on September 28th. Grow out your beard, bust out your parents’ old tour shirts, and prepare to get transported back to one of the most golden ages of rock.