For the last few months, we’ve been playing the song “Back on Top,” which is a very good song, I might add, from Carl Nichols, who performs as Buffalo Nichols. Imagine my surprise when doing research for this interview that he’s not a fan of the lead single from his self-titled debut album. As you’ll hear, Nichols isn’t afraid to move on from something that isn’t working for him.
Nichols was raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and found a love for the guitar early on. He’s a guy who’s always in pocket on the six string, and while it’s not designed to be flashy, it’s some of the most proficient and precise playing you’ll hear. He honed his craft playing in all sorts of bands, from punk to americana, even west African folk music. But in the last few years, his heart led him back to the blues, in the process releasing one of the best blues albums in recent memory.
I talk with Carl about his path to his solo career, and why he’s not afraid to call out the music industry for appropriating a genre pioneered by Black artists.