After popping in Buffalo Hotel by Geoff Gibbons, you’d think his style of Alt Country is All-American. But then, if you look closely, you’d notice that Gibbons is actually from Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada.
That’s a testament to the authenticity of his work after visiting the American South — namely the cities of Muscle Shoals, Nashville, and Memphis — while on a road trip. Gibbons delivers heavy hearts in a genuinely pleasing album that covers the American landscape from the point-of-view of an outsider.
Kicking off the album with the son “Ain’t Goin’ Back,” you can imagine a vivid and detailed look at American life, as Gibbons examines bad relationships and hard times. One of the very best things about Buffalo Hotel is its great sense of storytelling and descriptions of landscapes and panoramas of the United States.
The song “Lonesome Angel” firmly sits in a country/folk haze with its steady banjos and sharp pedal steel rhythms. The song is actually based on Toronto Singer/Songwriter Taylor Mitchell, who lost her life while on her first tour when she walked the Skyline Trail in Nova Scotia. While “Carolina Bound” captures a listener’s attention and playfulness with references to the north and south states, as well as a woman, “Hard Hard Rain” can give listeners an infectious melody that’s reminiscent of Ryan Adams.
Gibbons even embraces the power and soul of Southern Gospel with songs like “Ever Get To Georgia” and “Blinded By Tumbleweeds” that’s full of life and appeal for Cadillac Eldorado cars and Rock and Roll. Gibbons excels at songwriting with pithy wordplay and knack of weaving a story through songs.
There’s definitely a direct influence of Gibbons music to recording artists like the aforementioned Ryan Adams and Jackson Browne with his ability to paint a vast picture with words, but I feel it’s almost similar to full sounds of the likes of Jeff Tweedy and early Wilco, along with the playfulness of Loudon Wainwright III.
All in all, the album is worth your time and consideration. It’s wonderfully paced and structured with a keen sense of melody and tunefulness. Geoff Gibbons has turned an adventure in the American South into an alive and pleasant listening experience with Buffalo Hotel, which deserves your attention.
Buffalo Hotel by Geoff Gibbons is now available on Spotify.