Man, what a good record. The debut record from Plains – consisting of Katie Crutchfield and Jess Williamson is a beautifully handmade collection of folk-rock jams that reach you slowly and brilliantly like the rays of the sun on a summer day.
The collaboration between the artists began in 2020 when Crutchfield, better known as Waxahatchee traded her album Saint Cloud with Williamson’s Sorceress. They wrote the record between Kansas City, Los Angeles and Marfa, Texas before recording with producer Brad Cook in Durham, NC. The result is something that’s an easy classic, spun so effortlessly it’s almost unbelievable.
"Summer Sun” begins with a twang and a picked banjo as Crutchfield and Williamson harmonize. Brushed drums (played here by Spencer Tweedy) are right up front. It feels like you’re listening to a group workshopping in a room together, jettisoning any feeling that this is some sort of production compiled in a staid studio. Immediately after that kicks off the Crutchfield led “Problem With It”, a midtempo number that kicks in a little electric guitar before Williamson kicks in on the chorus “If it's all you got, yeah, it's all you gave/I got a problem with it/If you can't do better than that, babe/I got a problem with it”. It’s almost frustrating how the hook feels so much like a classic country rock radio hit. You’ll be singing it back to yourself for days.
“Hurricane” features the unmistakable sound of Phil Cook’s Wurlitzer as the collective vocals of Crutchfield and Williamson begin to soar over climbing guitar, drums and swelling fiddle. It’s an unmistakable highlight. The loping “Last 2 On Earth” is a killer front porch jam, while the slow-burn of “Easy” is a glistening, beautiful ballad.
Then, there’s the closer, the album’s title track. Here, Williamson takes lead before Crutchfield joins in. It’s a quiet, tender moment with beautiful, twangy guitars. As they harmonize, the lyrics settle in “On the winding path of life/Sometimes you walk alone/'Cause people come and go/There is a season for each one/They change your heart, and then it's done/Well I'll be better all my days/'Cause I walked with you a ways/I walked with you a ways.” It’s such an expressive, set of verses – an emotion that’s so easy to access, so immediate. Much like all of Plains debut. It’s something so immersive and special that you absolutely need hear.
- Brendan Hilliard, Obviate Media