Review: Geoff Gibbons – “Buffalo Hotel”
It doesn’t take long into Geoff Gibbons’ Buffalo Hotel before it feels like this is the long long John Denver album that never saw the light of day. As soon as the opening lines of first track “Ain’t Goin’ Back” start, it feels like the missing piece of Americana that we’ve been waiting for all along. Over the next hour, prepare to be taken on a sonic soundscape that feels like a road trip that feels both familiar and refreshingly new.
Gibbons bears the rare gift of songwriting paired with pristine musicality on record. His songs tell stories of travel, lovelorn entities, and self reflection. There are plenty of journeys packed into a relatively short album, which is big on experience and will easily resonate with an audience ready to let Gibbons be the driver of this musical vehicle.
Genre wise, Gibbons nestles within alt-country, folk, and classic rock, finding his groove on the first track, and never losing it throughout the whole album. This is a rare feat that we don’t see often. Buffalo Hotel is a cohesive musical project that isn’t afraid to name drop locations like Carolina and Idaho and let you in on the experience of soul searching on the road.
Buffalo Hotel is the type of album that sounds like a soundtrack meant for a film that doesn’t necessarily exist. But it’s easy to picture a narrative being made out of these songs that would suit a moving image, and that may be the greatest testament of all to this record’s success. Gibbons’ record lends is so fully realized and self sufficient that it needs to be explored further, providing deeper levels and unraveling itself more upon multiple listens.
On “Hard Hard Rain” we have a song that emotes and relates as much as it succeeds musically. That’s one of the issues with modern music, is how it elicits a feelings from its sound and not necessarily what it has to say. Luckily with Geoff Gibbons, we have an artist on our hands that is capable of doing both. Gibbons isn’t afraid to emote, and that is his greatest gift.
Later on the album, Gibbons showcases his vocal capabilities on “Me and Buffalo Bill”, with a raspy yelp mid chorus. He continues the variety by going all out western on “Goodbye Adeline” that evokes the album cover’s dusty wooden tavern to a tee.
Ultimately, we have an album on our hands that is special because of its timeless feel, its candor, and its ability to be uninhibitedly earnest. It is very clear upon listening to Buffalo Hotel that this is not a concept album. This is Geoff Gibbons as a stripped down artist without any pretenses. That’s what will make Buffalo Hotel a favourite among its audiences for years to come.