The White Buffalo roams the powder |

The White Buffalo roams the powder

The White Buffalo, Jacob Smith, is bringing his music to Aspen for the Powder Play Tour. (Contributed photo)

The White Buffalo, aka Jacob Smith, is a big guy with a big beard and a somewhat gruff voice. He arrived in town Thursday night for the start of the Powder Play Tour, featuring performances in Aspen, Snowmass, Telluride, Breckenridge, Park City and other ski towns in the West. “They were looking for someone who was a solo musician who could travel light but could rock the house,” Smith said. The Powder Play Tour is a traveling apparel and equipment show that features the latest in winter outdoor apparel. It is sponsored by Outside magazine, which is using Smith to make it more interesting than a simple apparel tour.

Smith plays an acoustic guitar and manages a full sound even though he’s the only one on stage. He said his sound is “folk with a little rock, a little country, a little pirate and a little carnival, some carnie music.” Outside Zélé, he sat recently with a cigarette burning down, looking around at the people walking by. “There’s a lot of fancy dogs here,” he said. “It’s kind of a purebred town.”He seemed to fit right in, though, wearing his big sunglasses and trying to keep the dangling cigarette away from his beard and long hair.

“I love old country western,” he said, “Waylon Jennings, some of the folk guys like Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, Tom Waits, Elliott Smith. He was one of the only really contemporary people I was excited about.” The Buffalo has just returned from a festival in Australia and a tour in Europe, where he was opening shows for Donavon Frankenreiter. He said that though home is Los Angeles, he’s been on tour and hasn’t been home a great deal in the last year. He said he pretty much wings it when he gets on stage, letting the feel of the audience and the venue guide him.”I’m don’t really prepare,” he said. “I’m not really one of those storyteller guys. I just kind of talk s— in between songs. I’m kind of a mumbler.”

Most of the songs he will sing at shows are songs he has written, though he said he’ll slip a cover in every now and then. His songs touch on wide-ranging topics and are lyrically driven.”I used to be a lot darker,” he said. “I run the gamut as far as content; it goes from mass murderers, dark stuff, then there’s the lighter songs. I’m only getting to the point where I can write a love song, though they’re not terribly sweet by most people’s standards.”He’s playing at The Little Nell from 4 to 6 p.m. today, from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Blue Door in Snowmass, and at 8 p.m. Sunday at the Belly Up, where he is opening for the Hackensaw Boys.Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is

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