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Music Review - `The Waiting Game` by Buford Pope (dmac)

Buford Pope - The Waiting Game  (click on image to watch video)

 12 December 2019



There are instances during Buford Pope’s album The Waiting Game where the singer/songwriter sounds a tad like an emo version of Joe Walsh. He, like Walsh, has a bit of a whine in his voice. Yet, whereas Walsh (mostly) applies his vocal instrument to party anthems, Pope oftentimes sounds like a tortured artist when he sings. The Waiting Game is one dark, meditative project.

This album is at its best whenever – to paraphrase Johnny Cash – Pope gets rhythm when he gets the blues. The mandolin-driven and steel guitar-underpinned “Hard Life” makes tough going actually seem doable. The stomping gutbucket blues of “A Hundred” also utilizes a strong beat to beat away demons, so to speak. Whenever Pope sounds down, though, he sounds really down. One (of many dirges) is titled “Wanna Say I’m Sorry Before I Die.” Is this art, or closer to a cry for help? With “Stoned,” Pope tells us, “I can’t see things clearly If I ain’t stoned.” Along the way during this song, he tells us about losing his job and being short on rent money. He’s one woebegone fella, one gathers. 

You get a hint Pope has found someone worse off than himself with “America,” where he appears to be singing from the perspective of a refugee that’s attempting to enter the currently refugee-unfriendly United States. “America, America,” he sings, “There have been so many times you’ve opened up your door.” It’s as if he’s begging at a closed-door that once remained wide open. 

For Pope, The Waiting Game is no game at all. Tom Petty once sang, “The waiting is the hardest part,” and he was right. Pope sounds variously impatient, depressed and stoned throughout The Waiting Game. This is no ‘Tis the season to be jolly album,’ that’s for sure. It is heartfelt and honest, though, and it may be the soundtrack for many Americans these days. Maybe you’re one of these. And if so, this album’s for you. free will, or if he, too, just got stuck in America. Whatever the case, though, his creative mind shows no signs of any stunted growth.


Music Reviewer - Dan MacIntosh


Dan MacIntosh - Dan MacIntosh has been a professional music journalist for 30 years and his work has regularly appeared in many local and national publications, including Inland Empire Weekly, CCM, CMJ, Paste, Mean Street, Chord, HM, Christian Retailing, Amplifier, Inspirational Giftware, Stereo Subversion, Indie-Music, Soul–Audio,, Country Standard Time and 

To Read All of Dan's Reviews, Click Here






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