I must admit, when I heard Wes Carr was performing under the name of Buffalo Tales, I thought it was as wanky as the next person. However, as I listened to his first album under this new moniker, the shift made perfect sense.
Roadtrip Confessions isn’t a Wes Carr album. While I enjoyed the pop-rock material Wes released after winning the Australian Idol title, it’s markedly different from the music he’s making today. There’s a lot more heart and subtlety here. It’s not so radio-friendly, but that doesn’t mean it’s not accessible. It’s just not obvious or formulaic.
This album is beautifully balanced. One moment we’re thigh-slapping along to “Amsterdam”, the next we’re taken to a more tender, poignant place when he duets with Scottish folk songbird Rachel Sermanni on “Crazy Heart”. The shifts could have been jarring, but the gentle strumming of an acoustic guitar serves as an anchor for these beautiful songs.
It’s hard to single out songs on an album of such quality, but the introspective “Puppet Strings” and romantic “Tricks to Magik” are real highlights. The poetic, gorgeous lyrics of these numbers deserve to be listened to.
It’s interesting that Buffalo Tales’ has chosen to cover Leonard Cohen’s “Take This Waltz” and Rihanna’s “Diamonds”. They’re two very different songs, but they’re both interpreted so cleverly. It’s a good reminder that singing covers, as artists do on programs like The X Factor, The Voice, and Buffalo Tales’ big break Australian Idol, isn’t such a bad thing. Perhaps he hasn’t moved so far from his alter ego after all.
It’s unfortunate that the release of Roadtrip Confessions has been overshadowed by the media natterings about Wes Carr’s new name, because this album is one of the best I’ve heard in recent years.
Image used with permission from the Planetary Group