Born in Houston, Carl Nichols took a winding road to the blues, passing through a long series of Baptist church gigs, Milwaukee bars, European cafés, and West African tours before returning to the States, breaking up his folk duo, and landing solo in Austin. Now billing himself as Buffalo Nichols, he’s writing songs that channel the music he heard growing up into a weary, deeply lived vision that’s focused on “putting more Black stories” into acoustic blues.

After years as a journeyman, playing everything from country to death metal, Nichols distilled his influences into a restlessly contemporary, hard-hitting blues, calling on the ghosts of R.L. Burnside, Elmore James, Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, Bukka White, and a long line of blues-rock guitarists.