One Bad Son’s new album, Black Buffalo, builds on the success the prairie-reared four-piece achieved with their 2012 self-titled album, and promises to hit rock fans around the world in a big way. Fueled by the success of three major radio hits from the last album (“Scarecrows”, “It Ain’t Right” and “Retribution Blues”), the band spent the last two years touring constantly, converting audiences and gaining legions of loyal fans across the country.
This extended time on the road shines through on Black Buffalo. The Vancouver-based band stretches out on their fourth full-length album, hitting new levels in songwriting, performance and feel. Beyond the hard rock glory of “Vinyl Spin Burner,” “Love/Sick/Love” and “Land of the Saints,” there’s the rootsy “Decades” and smoky, Johnny Cash-inspired “The Outlaw Josey Wales.” “Satellite Hotel” is the first single, and is new territory for the band — dark and brooding, yet somehow the most uplifting song that the band has written.
Singer Shane Connery Volk, drummer Kurt Dahl, guitarist Adam Hicks and bassist Adam Grant agree that Black Buffalo is the record they’ve wanted to record since forming in 2004. “Our goal was to capture on record our live intensity, that sort of contained chaos, that we’ve become known for and make it sound massive. It’s like the energy and magic I hear on Zeppelin and Hendrix and Soundgarden records,” Dahl says.
Producer Eric Ratz (Monster Truck, Billy Talent) was a key factor. The band had not met him before he flew to Vancouver from Toronto in March to start recording. “We had a 10-minute phone call to see if he was cool. It was like a speed date,” says Dahl. “He sounded like the Dude from Big Lebowski, so that was an automatic green light. It helped that he liked the same music and had the same vision as us for the record”.
Ratz was impressed by the early demos that the band sent him, and helped whittle down the 30-plus demos that the guys had been working on to arrive at the final 11-track album.
Volk, a cerebral singer drawn to history, westerns, politics and justice, picked some different themes for his lyrics on Black Buffalo. “I’m not a fan of just writing about girls or even my own personal experiences, although those do creep in there,” Volk says. “I’m a huge history buff and a lot of it is still valid when you look at what the government does to its own people. I’m happy I got to explore new lyrical territories on this album.”
In their tenth year as a band, One Bad Son seems to be hitting their stride as songwriters and performers. A decade of hard work and nose-to-the-grindstone commitment has culminated in Black Buffalo, which promises to keep the boys on the road and writing songs for years to come.
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