I haven’t written any ‘Album of the Week’ reviews for a while, primarily because every time I put on my headphones I just want to listen to Israel Nash. His latest offering, ‘Lifted’, is a hippy Americana chill-out album that inspires relaxed smiles. I saw him perform at Rough Trade in Brooklyn a few weeks ago and it was an equally blissed experience, despite the inspiration for much of the album coming from Nash’s despair at the state of American politics.
The singers’ response to Trump’s election, according to his website, was to retreat to his Texas studio and make contemplative music. I have to admit I can’t find much evidence of the political trauma on the resulting album, but the reflection on life in the backwoods is there in spades, replete with beautiful harmonies.
Indeed, the songs on Lifted are mostly snatches of unresolved stories, like the sad/happy ‘Widow’, a tale of love lost but then comfort found: “She was drifting / He was free / They had something back in 1973 / They once grew magic but it came to a halt / It’s always tragic / Oh when love falls apart / Don’t let it fall out of my heart.”
My favourite, though, is ‘Sweet Springs’, a lilting song in which Nash settles down at the end of the day and drifts into thoughts of love and getting stoned:
“Think I’ll sit and rest my bones / Low in my evening chair / I’ll follow you right into the colors that float in the air / Though I have a calm obsession with those changing eyes / The more that I see out in front of me / The more that I want to get high /
Who needs my love? / Who needs my love? / I know who I was thinking of “
Listening to it, you can almost hear the chair rocking and the crickets creaking (if that’s what crickets do…).