Buffalo Nichols | photo by Merrick Ales | courtesy of the artist
Get to know Artist To Watch Buffalo Nichols in his Friday Morning Mixtape on the XPN Morning Show
When Milwaukee, Wisconsin singer-guitarist Buffalo Nichols was named WXPN Artist to Watch in February of 2022, our programming department called his self-titled debut record, released last October on Fat Possum, “a collection of intimate, spellbinding folk-blues songs that “juggles the personal and the political.”
He was raised in Houston on church music and the blues, as Buffalo Nichols’ origin story goes, but during a guest DJ set on the XPN Morning Show’s Friday Morning Mixtape with Kristen Kurtis, Nichols showed the breadth of his musical taste, from singer-songwriter Neko Case to punk icons The Ramones to Malian guitarist Djelimady Tounkara.
“I’m just going to talk you through a few of my favorite songs of late,” Nichols said at the top of the set, commenting on some but letting the music speak for itself on the others.
“Lead Belly is probably one of the most important artists of the last hundred years or so,” Nichols said after spinning “Midnight Special.” “And that song is a great example of the kind of artist he was: dynamic and exciting and important to American music.”
The set went on to encompass old-time jug band music from Mississippi Mud Steppers, progressive electronic music by London’s Loraine James, and metal care of god-level guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen
“These days I’m known mostly for playing the blues, I guess,” he said. “But as a young man, Buffalo Nichols always wanted to be an electric guitar player, and I spent a whole lot of time listening to Yngwie Malmsteen. I hope it inspired you to pick up that guitar and start practicing. It’s never too late.”
Listen to Buffalo Nichols’ guest DJ set below, and pick up his self-titled album via Fat Possum (or, per his suggestion, at your favorite local independent record store). For more, keep an eye on his tour dates here.
Django Reinhadt – “Nuages”
Roland Kirk Quartet – “Serenede To A Cuckoo”
Neko Case – “Star Witness”
Lead Belly – “Midnight Special”
Mississippi Sheiks – “That’s It”
Mississippi Mud Steppers – “Sunset Waltz”
Little Willie John – “You Hurt Me”
Otis Rush – “Double Trouble”
The Ramones – “Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?”
Yngwie Malmsteen – “Black Star”
Loraine James – “Let’s Go”
Djelimady Tounkara – “M’Bematoma”