[sic] Magazine

Israel Nash – Israel Nash’s Silver Season

Pity Israel Nash Gripka because the 30-something singer-songwriter and guitarist was, simply, born in the wrong decade. As an artist, he bleeds lightly psychedelic Americana and his tender falsetto’s similarity to Neil Young is uncanny. Brilliantly and tellingly supported by a band that includes Midlake guitarist Joey McClellan, Nash duets soulfully with suitably dreamy fretwork on a track like “Lavendula”. And, if you were told it was a Harvest out-take, you’d believe it in a heartbeat. He does the same trick on melancholy soft-rocker “LA Lately”, swelling his vocal so profoundly as to drag the arrangement of prominent drums and crying pedal steel to a finale of some serious weight. Indeed, if history were to place Silver Season, Nash’s fourth LP, as a release from the early 70s or, perhaps, one from the mid-2000s alt-country/folk revival fronted by the likes of Band of Horses and Fleet Foxes, Nash would deservedly be talked about in many more hushed tones than today.

Originally from the deep country of the Ozarks, Missouri, he’s now an off-the-track Texan having taken in all NYC had to offer in the process. Clearly well at home these days in his hand-built, Quonset hut studio in the countryside, Silver Season’s nine songs continue to explore mid-distance wah wah too, sleepy shred undercutting Nash’s country-rock, rousing gospel and careful acoustic progressions just as it did on his previous album Rain Plans. His time in New York, even though that period’s album, Barn Doors and Concrete Floors, was laid down upstate in the Catskill Mountains, seems to be playing on his mind though and so too the reason for his self-exile when in Texas. “So tired of the people” he hollers on “Parlour Song”, inverting the gun-toting expectation of his state of residence by following it up with “Sooner or later we’ll surrender our guns/But not until we’ve shot everyone.”

Nash’s father was a local pastor and while Nash Jr. has grown away from religion, his gentlemanly music is nevertheless spiritual, allowing him these different perspectives. “I don’t live like the others / I see twice as many colours” he later confirms. Thus, album centrepiece “Parlour Song” starts with a folky and pacifist lament, growing via trippy keys until the track has an acid-fried freak-out mid-way through. From here it goes full Neil Young protest rock, Nash’s fluttering vocal breaking, contorting into a harsher, almost Robert Plant like plea. That Silver Season as a whole was tracked on a vintage Studer tape machine by Grammy-award winning engineer Ted Young (Kurt Vile, Sonic Youth, The Rolling Stones) allows Nash’s music and its messages to play on long after they’ve finished spinning, the recording’s warm analogue hum like Texan cicadas at dusk. It’s this kind of touch that makes Silver Season timeless, no matter when it was written.

Best track: “Parlour Song”

~Israel Nash’s Silver Season is released October 9th 2015 via the collaborative efforts of Loose Music and Thirty Tigers.~