Artist Spotlight

Buffalo Killers: A New Familiar Sound

I grew up in a house of classic rock. I remember waking up to the sounds of Led Zeppelin and The Doors, while my Dad made his coffee. For most of my teenage years I was stubborn and stuck in my ways, assuming all new music was commercialized pop with no heart. After years of only listening to late 60’s and early 70’s rock, I finally got up the courage to branch out. I discovered bands like Allah-las and The Growlers, which opened my eyes to the world of modern neo-psychedelic rock. I have since been on a relentless search for the perfect psychedelic sound, blending just the right amount of fuzz, harmonies, rhythm and crunchy guitar solos. I found the perfect mix in the band, Buffalo Killers.

The band was formed in 2006 by Ohio brothers Andrew and Zachary Gabbard, and Joseph Sebaali after the breakup of their first rock group, The Shams, which had an earlier 60’s sound similar to The Animals or early Rolling Stones. You can hear many of these elements in the Buffalo Killers, with their tightly structured blues progressions, energetic vocals, powerful guitar solos and meaningful lyrics. The Buffalo Killers are a more polished and refined version of The Shams. They are the perfect blend of late 60’s, early 70’s blues rock. Their lyrics are creative and powerful, and at times haunting. The Gabbard brothers’ harmonies range from a soulful southern blues style of the Allman Brothers to a more gentle sound reminiscent of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Their melodies send chills up your spine. They have a slight metal sound similar to early Ozzy, while also sounding almost identical to Neil Young. They touch on themes of rebirth, ideath, nature and freedom. They have toured with some big bands including The Black Keys and The Black Crowes. Andrew Gabbard has released music independently under his own name and the brothers are currently making music as The Gabbard Brothers, which I’m very excited about.

Photo by Erin Volk

What really drew me to Buffalo Killers is their guitar work. Being a guitar player myself, I really fell in love with their tone and technique, so similar to the sounds of late 60’s, early 70’s blues rock. Andrew Gabbard is truly a master of his craft. His tone and vibrato is unmatched. He holds the note at the right time and has the perfect blend of blues, rock, metal and crunchy psychedelia. His sound is very similar to early Clapton while playing with Cream, full of rich, heavy distortion. If you are a fan of rock guitar, no matter what era, take a listen and you will be amazed and transported into a realm of timeless sound and technique. 

Buffalo Killers have released eight albums. Their second album, Let It Ride, was produced by Black Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach. Almost all of their albums have a similar sound except for Fireball of Sulk, which to me has more of a punk, metal or grunge style like Nirvana. It’s hard for me to choose my favorite songs from their entire discography, but a few that stand out to me are “Get It”, with its catchy piano and heavy blues guitar, “Huma Bird”, with its soft subtle flare and “Need a Changin’” which really sums up their overall philosophy and style and is a wonderful rock anthem song. 

Buffalo Killers are my perfect psychedelic rock band. They have the right balance of touch, technique, soul and downright heavy homegrown rock flare that will leave you wanting more. They are a new familiar sound that will grab you and never let go. 

Favorite Songs: Get It, Huma Bird, Need a Changin’, Moon Daisy

Genres: Psychedelic Rock, Roots Rock, Blues, Southern Rock, Folk Rock, Swamp Rock


10/10 The Perfect Sound

Written by Adam


By Adam

I am a musician and writer. I love discovering new indie artists and music and writing about my findings.

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