“The Long Journey Home” is a New Kind of Blues for Buffalo Nichols

Buffalo Nichols press photo
Alt-blues artist Buffalo Nichols just released his second full-length album, 'The Fatalist,' out now on Fat Possum | COurtesy of the artist

A cut from his second full-length release, The Fatalist, The Long Journey Home” finds contemporary alt-blues-agitator Buffalo Nichols continuing his excursions into deconstructing and rebuilding folk forms.

Driven by banjo and a minimal Roland TR-808 beat—a machine that is 50 years old, and one which Nichols considers to be a now-folk instrument—the proverbial trouble in mind that he explores is pure existentialism, framed in a wandering quest: “I took the long journey home/From iridescent to monochrome/I learned no lesson I’m no more wise/We live to suffer/And know not why.”

In volition and delivery, Nichols isn’t a blues purist. He has rightfully questioned the blues scene’s originality and racial disparity. The latter is surely on point, judging by the imbalanced ratio of whites: people of color currently in a musical form created by Black musicians. Yet with “The Long Journey Home,” and Nichols’s distorted voice sounding tempered by both defeated resignation and tireless resolve, he serves up a decent document that chronicles the personal and universal traveling travails of being human.

The Fatalist is out September 15 via Fat Possum Records. Order here.

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