Israel Nash Gripka – Israel, Gripka, Nash and Young

Israel Nash has re-released his great album from last year. Here is the original review

Israel Nash – Israel Nash’s Rain Plans

IsraelNashGripkarainplainscdedit

There’s fierce competition for the title of the ‘Best song that Neil Young never wrote’. It goes without saying that Songs: Ohia’s ‘Farewell Transmission’ is right up there. Angus and Julia Stone’s ‘Yellow Brick Road’ is a contender. Now, there’s Israel Nash (Gripka). There are various possible entries on his new album, but perhaps ‘Mansions’ is the most worthy. It’s the track where the two guitars play off each other most comfortably. Close your eyes and you’d swear that Shakey and Poncho have entered the auditorium. But this is more than just a tribute album by another name. This is also a wonderfully crafted album. Built around no fewer than three guitars – typically one often slightly fuzzed, one steel, and one acoustic – plus organ, bass, and drums, the musicianship is really tight. There’s a big sound, but it never gets out of control. Everything is beautifully balanced. You can hear all the sounds all the time. It’s a real testament to the guy at the mixing desk. If there’s a danger, then it’s that the serious, slow-paced Laurel Canyon sound will start to wear a little thin after a while. And by track four, the thought that this would have made a great EP starts to surface. But then things start to vary. Just a little, but just enough. The tracks gets a little longer, leaving time for a few surprises. At the six minute mark, the change in tempo on ‘Rain Plans’ works wonders. ‘Iron On The Mountain’ manages to pull off the same trick. And then there’s the closer, ‘Rexanimarum’. It wouldn’t be out of place on American Stars ‘n’ Bars, and there’s scarcely a greater compliment. With six players and a whole bunch of kit, it’ll be expensive to reproduce this sound live. But at least it exists on record. And what a great record it is.

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