Review | Jimbo Mathus & The Tri-State Coalition - White Buffalo

Jimbo Mathus

[J]imbo Mathus is the sound of the South. The Mississippi native creates music that makes even us Northerners feel as though we were born with Bayou blood coursing through our veins. White Buffalo, his second album with his band The Tri-State Coalition, is a masterful collection of stories deeply rooted in the mythology of the area, and connects us outsiders to his generational landscape.

The album’s first track, “In the Garden,” sets the tone for the musical exploration of the Mississippi Delta and leans heavily on biblical references of good and evil, set to a wickedly played mandolin. It is a sure fire bet that a man with the experience of a well-traveled musician has had his share of temptation, and the song captures the soul-searching tone so perfectly you would be wise to think the pearly gates will be opened wide for Mathus one day.

Grab yourself a cool drink and head on to “(I Wanna Be Your) Satellite,” a rock n’ roll love anthem set to heated guitar licks and cool back down with the laid back ode to making the most of what you have titled, “Tennessee Walker Mare.” Mathus has an ability to tap into the many sounds associated with the Deep South and switches up styles effortlessly from song to song to help guide the listener through each tale.

If you are need of barn-burning blues look no further than the title track, “White Buffalo,” if your mood calls for a boot-scootin’ country-rocker “Fake Hex” will get your feet moving. The music of the Tri-State Coalition feels more like an extension of Mathus rather than a group of musicians behind the lead man. When a track like “Poor Lost Souls” calls for a touch of gospel the Coalition kicks it into glorious gear. When voodoo vibes are in order the band heads into supernatural blues territory with “Run Devil Run.”

Mathus’ background is as rich as the soil that is his stomping ground. From forming the Squirrel Nut Zippers in the early nineties, to his Grammy nominated work with blues legend Buddy Guy, the heart and soul of Jimbo Mathus has been his beloved Dixie. To feel what that dedication sounds like pick up a copy of White Buffalo and settle in for a spell.