With a ragged, soaring voice recalling Bon Iver, coupled with the rambling spirit and storytelling of Woody Guthrie, Buffalo Tales’ mastermind Wes Carr has a keen ear for the past, while simultaneously blazing his own trail. On their debut LP Roadtrip Confessions, Buffalo Tales spin univeral tales of hard-bitten love, travel, and the eternal search for happiness and salvation. At the age of 30, Carr sounds like an old soul on Roadtrip Confessions, a man who has walked through the fire and paid more than his share of dues, and emerged clean on the other side. Buffalo Tales is a farewell to the past, and Roadtrip Confessions is a mission statement for the future: heartfelt, acoustic songs, with zero flash or gimmicks.
The space and openness of Roadside Confessions recall the landscape where Carr grewup: the bare scrubland north of South Australia’s capital, Adelaide. “That’s where three of the songs were written: “Please,” “Waiting for You” and “Tricks to Magik” were all written when I was younger,” Carr explains. “That was my first explosion of songwriting. Mum gave me a John Lennon anthology boxset and I got inspired by all of his home recordings. It did something to my brain. I just went RAAA!”
Roadtrip Confessions was recorded simply, with a guitar, voice, and trusted friends old and new. “Making it was just me and my best mate Stu Hunter,” Carr recalls. “We just sat in his studio and went ‘This is what I want to say.’ Some of the songs are live and they’re all very easy to perform, because they’re the truth, really.” Adopting the “write what you know” motto, much of the album was written in the last year as Carr experienced one of life’s great changes. “Most of it was written when I knew my wife was pregnant,” he laughs. “That’s been the secret link; that this new being was coming and joining us forever, and I had no time to waste.”
He’s also put his own spin on two covers: the Leonard Cohen classic “Take This Waltz” and Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” which has been given the thumbs up on Twitter by its author (and fellow Adelaidean) Sia Furler. Buffalo Tales captures Carr at his most vulnerable and energized, and Roadside Confessions is a dually rollicking and delicate testament to the legacy of folk and storytelling, along with Carr’s musical and personal reinvention.
Roadtrip Confessions is available digitally June 21 (Australia/Worldwide) and US June 24.