Thirty Two Magazine – “Album of the Month”
“Looking for new music to carry you into the sunset while road-tripping this summer? The Butterfly Bull, the new album of Macalester college alumnus Nick Africano is a tour de force both passionately haunting and beautifully melancholic. Combining the best of folk and soul with sublime storytelling, the album’s contradictory title is echoed throughout, by striking a perfect note between the heavy and the weightless, between groundedness and buoyance, and darkness and hope.”
Something Else Reviews- The Butterlfy Bull-by Nick DeRiso
“Like its title, Nick Africano’s The Butterfly Bull succeeds in these brilliantly contradictory ways. There are, over the course of its 12 songs, both shadows and light, familiar reference points and completely new amalgams, love and heart-rending hurt, crashing soul and crushing quiet.
And sometimes, all at once: “Big Sky,” for instance, fades in like a dream, as Africano opens the album with this confidential whisper. A guitar’s insistent strum seems to be all that’s holding him up through a series of trembling thoughts. As the song continues, though, Africano — and the song itself — begin to build up a head of steam, matching a growing confidence within the lyric. “Big Sky,” which started out feeling so small, ends as this sun-streaked, transformational moment of hope.
Africano never looks back on The Butterfly Bull, pushing songs like “Bring Me Water” and “Someone Say a Prayer” forward as lean, gospel-inspired calls to stay present, despite life’s difficulties. His vocal returns to a Springsteenish hush for “Heart of Dreams” and “Just Us Kids,” but his characters don’t seem broken so much as raw and expectant from having allowed themselves to truly feel.
“Stranger,” with its echoing, crepuscular steel guitar, boasts the wide-open musical spaces of the Cowboy Junkies, but with a far more direct approach to the narrative. “Let Me Go” jangles with a rockabilly charm, while “Shovel” features a devastating vocal that recalls Tim Buckley. “Tiny Stars,” with its combination of insistent pop rhythm, darkly ruminative piano, sweeping orchestral flourishes and heart-splashing lyrics, is like a lost track from Elton John’s magical 1970s-era of hitmaking.
The album’s most interesting moments come when Africano defies easy category, though, when he fakes left but goes the other way: The strings-laden “Slow Burn,” for instance, moves not with a swooning sadness but with a thrumming sensual anticipation. Africano finds a deep well of thankfulness for the gifts of love and companionship in tracks like “Everything Is Here” and “In Bocca al Lupo,” but — like so much of this moving new album from a fascinating new voice — he works hard to craft something that stays well away from cliche.”
Nick Africano in No Depression–
“…the sultry sound that you’ve been looking for.
“Bring Me Water” is nothing but crashing piano, Africano’s powerful voice, and some serious gospel/soul revival that will have you up on your feet in no time. I love the story-telling, revelations and everything in between.”
Pure Volume-Nick Africano’s “Bring Me Water”+interview:
“Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Nick Africano is fusing soul music with his love for Spanish culture and literature in his new album, The Butterfly Bull, which drops today [May 1]. Initially sparked by Francisco de Goya’s drawing of the winged creature, the album took shape based on the idea of contradiction, and was fueled by Africano’s own undergraduate thesis paper. “Bring Me Water”, the album’s first single, holds some surprising contradictions of its own, but will have you enamored more with its blues-meets-soul instrumentation and Africano’s own rugged vocals. Grab it as a free download for a limited time, and check out our PV Q&A, where Africano talks knack for poetics, love for contradictions, and why he was so taken by Goya’s drawing…”
Ear to The Ground – by Admin
Nick Africano’s music is unique in a sea of “this guy sounds like that guy” music. It doesn’t fit in a genre or style. We can give one concrete word for it. Nick’s music is good. We found his new album The Butterfly Bull to be varied in all the right ways. His voice is at time a powerhouse fit for arena rock, sometimes soulful befitting mid-60s Motown, and yet other times sincere like only the early years of Elvis Pressley…
The Star Tribune Reviews “I’ve Ever Desired (2008)”-by Chris Riemenschneider
“AFRICANO’S RUSTIC SINGER-SONGWRITER STYLE IS A PLACE TO START, BUT IT DOESN’T QUITE DO JUSTICE TO THE LAYERS HE BRINGS TO THE NEW SONGS. HIS GRAVELY VOICE BLENDS WELL WITH THE MULTI-INSTRUMENTAL VIRTUOSITY, WHICH ISN’T OFTEN ENCOUNTERED IN THE ‘SINGER-SONGWRITER’ CATEGORY”