I might be the wrong guy to review this record. If you were figuring out the target audience for Israel Nash Gripka’s third record, you’d probably find me sitting on the bullseye, waiting to be picked off with ludicrous ease. But then I’m also probably not alone.
Because anybody who ever loved all those Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young records they found in their parents collections, who ever wondered what the follow-up to Deja Vu would have sounded like had it been made in the moment and not 18 years later once everyone’s egos had caught up with each other, this record is for you.
With a wall of sound his previous two albums only hinted at, Gripka has produced a shimmering record that brings to mind all the classics of that era. Heavy on the steel guitar and the atmospherics, he channels the greats of the West Coast sound and adds the element so often missing from contemporary efforts to recreate the era – that slightly mystical air which keeps you coming back for more.
For an album only nine tracks long, Rain Plains can feel a little long thanks to all those wandering guitar solos, and maybe even a touch one-paced, but that’s kind of the point. This is an album to drift away within, to lose yourself and not come back until the needle reaches the middle.