So much about the singer-songwriter experience feels lonely, from translating complex, introspective narratives from the mind into words, to spending hours playing music for the walls in the rehearsal room and recording studios. It’s no wonder Carl “Buffalo” Nichols can’t wait to get out there and perform for people.
Nichols is due to headline in Athens on April 9 at the Lewis Room, located next to the Tweed Recording Audio Production School campus at 131 E. Clayton St. downtown. The Fat Possum Records artist will be supported by local artists Toni Hunlow and Wade Walker.
Born in Houston, Texas, and raised in the predominantly black north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Nichols credits the guitar with his saving grace during his childhood and teenage years. But it was his time in college and in the overseas job market watching expatriate Black Americans perform jazz and blues that inspired him creatively.
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Nichols toured with Drive-By Truckers last fall and opened for St. Paul and The Broken Bones in December, but is looking forward to headlining the Lewis Room due to her intimate ability and the listening room atmosphere.
“I’m a solo artist, so performing in front of smaller groups of people who are really there to hear the music definitely motivates my performance,” Nichols told the Banner-Herald. “The material I play can get quite heavy, so I try to keep the vibe light in between by cracking a few jokes.”
The Lewis Room, named for the showroom and retail space of the Lamar Lewis Shoe Company, does not serve alcohol due to its proximity to the Audio Production School. As a result, the room tends to be quieter than a bar or concert hall, which creates an intentional environment for an up close and personal artist experience akin to NPR’s “Tiny Desk,” on which Nichols appeared. .
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Another appealing aspect of the Lewis Room is the ability to have the performance recorded by Tweed students using the school’s state-of-the-art facilities, which artists are permitted to retain and distribute however they choose. Because the venue can hold a crowd of 160, it’s the perfect place to record a live album.
“I saw Buffalo Nichols perform at the Georgia Theater last year and watched people who were clearly enthralled by his storytelling and his guitar playing,” said Tweed facilities manager Taylor Rogers. “I walked out of this show thinking how great it would be to see him somewhere with a more intimate vibe, so I’m really glad we were able to book him.”
For tickets and show times, visit https://www.lewisroom.com/upcoming-events/buffalonichols-athens2022.