Album Review
7:00 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Buffalo Killers: Ohio Grass

Buffalo Killers is a band that doesn’t seem to ever sit still.

Shortly after the release of their 4th full-length recording, Dig. Sow. Love. Grow., they were quick to follow it up with Ohio Grass,  a 6-song EP specially-crafted for release on Record Store Day.  Ohio Grass comes out swinging with the opening track, ‘Baptized’ -  a soulful and deeply-resonating hymn.

Since the band’s formation in 2006 the Buffalo Killers’ sound has been compared favorably to such giants as Neil Young, The Grateful Dead, Cream and The Black Crowes, with whom the band toured, shortly after the release of their self-titled debut album.

Having proved their musical mettle several times over, the Cincinnati-based trio of brothers Andy and Zachary Gabbard and Joey Sebaali appear to have taken this opportunity with Ohio Grass to experiment with re-inventing themselves and their sound, not unlike the approach The Beatles took when they stripped away the heavy studio production of their previous albums in order to record Let it Be.

Buffalo Killers: Joey Sabaali, Andy Gabbard and Zachary Gabbard
Buffalo Killers: Joey Sabaali, Andy Gabbard and Zachary Gabbard
Credit Erin Volk

Recorded, mixed and mastered locally by Mike Montgomery at Candyland Studios, the feel of this album is deeper, richer, more raw and (dare I say?) heavier.  Throughout Ohio Grass, the vocals seem more present and less swirled into the psychedelic mushroom soup of previous recordings and the guitars are grittier, grungier and pack more punch.

The decision to release this CD on Record Store Day (in April) was perfect as each track puts one in the mindset of Summer: running barefoot through tall grass and staying up late into the smoke-perfumed night.

The track chosen from this EP to be highlighted as a "single" was ‘Nothing Can Bring Me Down.’  Showcasing this song was definitely the right idea as it has the guts to stand on its own.  However, of the 6 new tracks on Ohio Grass [there are 4 bonus tracks also included] I was most drawn to the reggae-soaked ‘Golden Eagle.’  This feel-good riff makes me want to smile to the sun.

Looking at the album artwork with its zeppelin-shaped spliff and brightly colored pot leaves adorning it -- when you combine that with such song titles as ‘Grow Your Own’ and ‘Good Feeling’  --  you can be assured that Buffalo Killers have certainly not abandoned their 420-friendly roots.  But what they have managed to do more than anything with Ohio Grass is to give us, the listeners, a more intimate experience with the band and a closer-to-live sound that we can hear over and over again… even when the Summer comes to an end.

Ohio Grass is available for purchase online.  The EP contains 6 studio tracks and 4 bonus tracks which include 3 live versions of their songs 'Jon Jacob,' 'Hey Girl' and 'Move On.'

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