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Buffalo Nichols: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

In a sparse, dimly lit Austin office building, Carl "Buffalo" Nichols stands in front of the mic stand with his steel guitar. As he finger picks into the first song "Living Hell," the stark surroundings are juxtaposed against the warmth of his raspy vocals.

He performs his Tiny Desk (home) concert solo, a testament to the engaging storytelling of the blues, a genre he reclaims on his self-titled debut album. In his three-song set, Nichols sings about not making it into heaven, living in hell and the life of someone who is lost and lonesome. But these aren't your run-of-the-mill, down-and-out blues songs – Nichols is adamant about making the genre current and making it Black again. Originally from Wisconsin, he mentions that he moved to the Austin, Texas music scene at the beginning of the pandemic, a fitting preface to his next song that starts with, "If you see me in your town, looking tired with my head hanging down / You may wonder what went wrong, why am I always all alone."

Buffalo Nichols' acoustic set represents all the best parts of Tiny Desk; a humble desk, a talented artist and music that speaks for itself.


  • "Living Hell"
  • "Lost & Lonesome"
  • "These Things"

  • Buffalo Nichols: vocals, guitar

  • Directed by: Aimée M. Everett
  • Recorded by: Buffalo Nichols
  • Mixed by: Clay Jones
  • Cameras by: Brad Feeser
  • Edited by: Max Taeuschel

  • Producer: Kara Frame
  • Video Producer: Kara Frame
  • Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin
  • Tiny Production Team: Bob Boilen, Bobby Carter, Joshua Bryant, Maia Stern, Ashley Pointer
  • Executive Producer: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
  • Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

    Kara Frame is a video producer for NPR and pursues personal projects in her free time. She most often produces for NPR's explainer series, "Let's Talk: Big Stories, Told Simply." She's crafted stories about housing segregation in Baltimore, MD; motherhood in a refugee camp in Lesbos, Greece; and food deserts in Washington, DC. Frame enjoys a break from the news when filming the Tiny Desk Concerts.