By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
“These are his best songs yet.”
– American Songwriter
“The latest addition to the vast Jimbo Mathus musical library may be his finest.”
– Atlanta Music Examiner
“The album, in a one-word summation, is masterful.”
– Honest Tune
BY SHEENA BARNETT
Every time musicians release a new CD, they usually say it’s their best to date. North Mississippi’s own Jimbo Mathus doesn’t have to say that about his new album, “White Buffalo,” because the critics are saying it for him.
But he does agree with them.
“I really am saying (it’s my best) – it’s like your children that you have and you say, ‘I like this one the best.’ You don’t wanna admit it, but it’s true,” Mathus said in a phone interview with the Daily Journal. “This one’s had a lot of thought put into it, and care and focus, and I think it shows in what’s happening with it.”
“White Buffalo” was released Jan. 22 on Fat Possum Records.
Mathus didn’t change his straight-forward, honest storytelling style of “Catfish Music,” as he calls it, for this project; he just put a little bit more thought into it.
Jimbo Mathus wrote a song about the Tupelo Buffalo Park’s late white buffalo, Tukota, and he used that song title as the name of his album.
He even shot the video for the song at the Buffalo Park, and it should be released in a few weeks.
“I’m out there at the Buffalo Park in a herd of American Bison, wearing an Uncle Sam outfit,” he said.
“We just planned it better, edited it better,” he said.
“White Buffalo” is about a year in the making. Its started with a Kickstarter campaign, where Mathus’ fans helped him raise almost $16,000 to pay for quality production, travel and lodging, recording equipment upgrades and more.
“My fans, they’re great people. They enjoy what I do, whether it’s a blues concert in Clarksdale or at the Blue Canoe, I do different styles around the Mid-South,” he said.
Mathus recorded “White Buffalo” at Delta Recording, his own studio, in Como, while it was mixed and mastered at a studio in Brooklyn.
It’s important to Mathus to record his music in his home state.
“It makes a huge difference, it really does. The air in the south is different. It’s thicker. If you go to record out in California, I can’t hear out there. There’s no humidity between my ear and the sound,” he said. “It’s too loud or clear or something.”
It’s not just the air – it’s everything about the South.
Mathus makes Southern music for Southern people, and he said his fellow North Mississippians understand him best.
“It’s like Faulkner said, this ‘postage stamp’ piece of geography is a never-ending source of inspiration. I figured in my early years of wandering, searching, that everything led back here to me, on every level,” he said. “The culture, the music, the arts, the people – to me, it’s the greatest place in the world to be from.”
Mathus will spend much of 2013 touring and promoting this new album.
“I’ll be at the Blue Canoe and I’ll be in Oxford town and Memphis and X, Y and Z,” he said. “I won’t go too far, and if I do, I’ll be back soon.”