Israel Nash has fully embraced the meandering hills and endless skies of his new Central Texas home. Having relocated from New York City, the songwriter has found himself surrounded by land so isolated that it is not uncommon to be crossed by a tumbleweed or to hear the percussive warning of an agitated rattlesnake. There is an unease that comes with the visual thrill of living in the untainted lone star hills, and Nash's newest album, Rain Plans, is like a sonic acquiescence of this fact. As a writer, Nash's songs have always been poignant, but never before has his music sounded so haunting and contemplative. Electric guitar leads wind in and out of these new songs like curious spirits, with steel guitar bending and soothing the ache of the subtle melodies. Reverb enraptures the listener like a child running in slow motion through white sheets hanging from clotheslines. Rain Plans is a testament to the overwhelming grandeur of nature and our place in it. These songs are about finding solace in family and the fear of the future; knowing what you'll never know and the uncertainty that comes with that knowledge. At times melancholy celebrations and at other times standoffish guitar rock, Nash's new surroundings have helped him create a tone only hinted at in his previous work, and a songwriting sophistication that comes with great time and effort. With allusions to Lefty Frizzell, Lou Reed, and Neil Young on Rain Plans, Israel Nash is a songwriter's songwriter. His performances, tight and effectual, are equally inspired no matter the venue, with songs occasionally broken up by his dry sense of humor. Rain Plans is new territory for him, both literally and figuratively, as well as an expression of his finding a strange sort of direction in the fragility of existence. It's an effort as delicate as plucking a cactus flower, but, luckily for Israel, he now has plenty of flowers to choose from.
Rain Plans will be available in North America Summer 2014.