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.”
- Read Buffalo Nichols JME interview from 2022
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.