Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Album Review: Buffalo Nichols - Buffalo Nichols

Buffalo Nichols
***and1/2 out of *****

The debut self titled album from Carl 'Buffalo' Nichols is a excellent collection of warm, welcoming blues numbers that combine his acoustic guitar playing and inviting voice.  

There is a strong confidence to the singer-songwriters first full length and while he is not reinventing the wheel with his straight forward acoustic blues, there is a polish and poise to the sound delivered on this self titled release. Born in Houston, TX raised in Milwaukee, WI, and now a part of the Austin, TX blues scene, the well traveled artist uses those searching feelings on the smooth opener "Lost & Lonesome". The introductory track showcases the strengths of Nichols with fluid playing and radio friendly vocals.

His commitment to the blues art form flows through "Living Hell" and "Sick Bed Blues", while his sound may be more clean than other blues artists, the singer songwriter in him proves these sufferings were lived through and honest. The best offering on the record is "These Things" which combines violin string pulls, picking acoustic guitars and Nichols pretty singing into a winning combination. 

The juxtaposition of the full out love song "How To Love" with his direct protest pain ridden "Another Man" proves that Nichols songwriting chops run the gamut. "Another Man" in particular is bursting with pain about violence and the murdering of black people in America at the hands of police in straight ahead raw/effective fashion.   

The album ends with some light electric guitar based blues as the celebratory "Back On Top" sees a brighter future while album closer "Sorry It Was You" using shuffling drums and swelling guitar lines to push the blues forward before a sweet fuzzy solo winds its way through the brokenhearted proceedings. 

The first solo blues artist Fat Possum has signed in over twenty years is different from the raw hill country sound blues fans are used to from the label as Buffalo Nichols smooth, polished instrumentals and comforting vocals are primed to for larger things as this singer songwriter will surely grow from this strong debut. 
Support the artist, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:

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