Muddy Bottom Blues
Program #243 (May 7 at 8:00pm and May 8 at 3:00pm)
Texas-based singer/songwriter Israel Nash began his career in New York in the late 2000s, blending elements of rock and country with gentle psychedelia and undercurrents of rural folk.
His second album, 2001's Steve Shelley-produced Barn Doors and Concrete Floors, found an audience in Europe, though it was his 2014 release, Rain Plans, that became a critical breakout in the U.S. After settling in the Texas Hill County outside of Austin, his music took an increasingly cerebral and psychedelic bent on subsequent releases like 2015's Silver Season and the 2021's home-recorded Topaz.
A native of the Ozark Mountains in Missouri, Nash moved to New York in 2006, where he released his debut LP, New York Town, in 2009. Released under his full name, Israel Nash Gripka, the influence of '60s and '70s artists like Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Band, and Crosby, Stills & Nash could be heard in his Americana-inspired style.
Seeking a more textural and electric-based sound, he recruited Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley to produce and play on his follow-up album, 2011's Barn Doors and Concrete Floors. By this point, he had signed to Dutch label Continental Record Services and found increasing success in Europe and the U.K., releasing the live album 2011 Barn Doors Spring Tour: Live in Holland that same year.
After five years living in the city, Gripka relocated from New York to the small rural town of Dripping Springs, Texas, located outside of Austin in the Hill Country. Shortening his name to Israel Nash, he and engineer Ted Young recorded his third album, Rain Plans, to analog tape at his home. The album's rich, atmospheric country-rock sound drew comparisons to Neil Young and became a favorite at NPR and several influential American radio stations when it was released in the U.S. in 2014.
Working again with London-based Loose Records, he followed up with Silver Season in 2015, which followed a similar path while adding more psychedelic textures to his sound. For his next project, Nash teamed up with psych-rock band the Bright Light Social Hour to record the collaborative 2016 EP Neighbors, which the two acts recorded together between their two studios outside of Austin.
Lifted, Nash's fifth album, was released in 2018 and combined more psych-folk influences with lush orchestrations and Beach Boys-style vocal arrangements. Recording by himself in a home studio built out of an old Quonset hut, Nash created what would become his sixth album, Topaz. Released first as a five-song EP in late 2020, the dreamy full-length version appeared in March of the following year.
(provided by Allmusic)