The White Buffalo is the project of earthy, Oregon-born and Southern California-raised singer/songwriter Jake Smith, who grew up listening to punk bands like the Descendents and the Circle Jerks and didn't pick up a guitar until age 19. During his college years in the Bay Area, he began writing and performing his own songs, hitting upon the White Buffalo name as one of several suggestions from his friends that he drew out of a hat. Smith's debut album, Hogtied Like a Rodeo, arrived in 2002, and he followed it three years later with The White Buffalo EP, which was produced by Eels' Koool G Murder. Released in 2008, Hogtied Revisited found Smith re-recording his first album in a friend's bedroom. Gigs with artists including Gomez, Ziggy Marley, and Donavon Frankenreiter and in locales as widespread as Japan and Australia spread the word of mouth about The White Buffalo. When pro surfer Chris Malloy heard Smith's music, he included the song "Wrong" in his movie Shelter, and White Buffalo tracks later appeared on the TV shows Sons of Anarchy and Californication. The 2010 EP Prepare for Black & Blue brought Smith to the attention of Unison Music, which signed The White Buffalo; the label's heads, Bruce Witkin and Ryan Dorn, also co-produced 2012's full-length Once Upon a Time in the West, featuring the talents of drummer Matt Lynott and bassist Tommy Andrews.