Buffalo Rose are a Pittsburgh Americana act known for their glorious vocal harmonies; their new album, Big Stampede, is out on Misra Records.
Listening to album opener “Somewhere, TN” feels like being caressed by a sturdy breeze as it flows over a boundless prairie; perhaps your car has broken down in the middle of nowhere, and the last town was 30 minutes back, but Jason Rafalak’s upright bass is so warm and inviting that you don’t really mind. The instrument acts as an underpinning to the song’s swirl of guitar, mandolin, and Dobro, instilling the proceedings with a friendly glow, like that of an old wood stove. Vocalists Lucy Clabby, Rosanna Spindler, and Shane McLaughlin tell the story of an impetuous roadtrip to the titular town (or maybe it’s a mindset); setting the tone near the beginning of the song when they observe, “The tank’s running low/Man, too bad it don’t run on beer.” Their performance feels spontaneous and organic; at various points, you can hear bandmembers talking to each other or remarking on previous passages, like they’re playing in a backyard and someone just so happened to bring recording equipment to the party. On “Somewhere, TN,” The Buffalo Rose folks act as bluegrass Jack Kerouacs, losin’ and boozin’ themselves across America’s heartland, near-broke and hungover, but free as can be.