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Buffalo Nichols, 'Another Man'

This #NowPlaying discovery comes to us from the Best Music of October podcast on All Songs Considered.

We still need protest songs. Carl Nichols, once of the Milwaukee duo Nichols & Rose — and now reviving the country blues as Buffalo Nichols — resisted that fact for a while before speaking to the elders and realizing he, too, had to testify.

Grounding himself in Vera Hall's immortal mid-twentieth century field holler "Another Man Done Gone," Nichols pulls that song's stark fatalism into a 21st century that still hasn't seen justice for Sandra Bland or Breonna Taylor. Nichols, part of a thrilling reclamation of the blues by young artists of color including Jackie Venson and Adia Victoria, has found a way to make a worn-to-the-clichéd nub style fresh through his intimate vocal delivery and ace resonator guitar playing. "It's hard to write a song while folks get murdered every day," he moans. Embracing the role of witness, he takes us with us as he finds a way.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ann Powers is NPR Music's critic and correspondent. She writes for NPR's music news blog, The Record, and she can be heard on NPR's newsmagazines and music programs.