“Everything has a story” is one of the many words of wisdom Israel Nash shares on his new record, Lifted, and when it comes to stories, Nash tells a beautiful one with an honest soul and brilliant mind.
Nash has become a compelling figure in the landscape of Americana music, with previous projects like New York Town, Rain Plans, and Silver Season creating a defining sound and earning him critical acclaim. Lifted embodies this same otherworldly persona Nash has established as he continues to passionately portray the world around him.
Nash once again turned to his serene Plum Creek Sound studio in his home of Dripping Springs, Texas, to generate a body of work that is sonically and lyrically fascinating. Nash has a masterful way of transporting you to a different realm while also capturing what it means to live in the world around us, and there’s a fragility to his music that makes it feel pure, even as it harbors a larger-than-life essence that makes for a thought-provoking project. You can feel this fragility on the soft horns in the opening of “Looking Glass” and lyrics like “I hear the rolling thunder after the lightning strikes and I don’t know the reason why.”
“Hippie-spiritual” is an accurate description for Lifted, as, like on many of his previous releases, there’s a strong energy that travels through the album, with Nash grasping the essence of the world around us with inspiring lyrics and vibrant melodies. Take “Northwest Stars (Out of Tacoma)” for example, which begins like a calming lullaby before Nash makes a powerful statement, “I don’t look forward and I don’t look back,” that reflects a man who remains conscious of present time, a rare mentality in a society as fast-paced as our own.
“Strong Was the Night” is particularly captivating, as it showcases Nash’s artistic gift of blending the beauty of nature with the power of music. “I speak to the wind and the wind speaks to me, whispering,” Nash hauntingly sings with a voice that seamlessly eases into a soft violin that transforms the image into music, while the line “my voice drowns in waves singing ‘will you remember me?’” prove the strength, yet gentleness in his writing.
Nash’s intuitiveness is intertwined down to the minute details of the creation process, such as calling upon the sounds at his fingertips like frogs, crickets, and rushing water on his farm, using these elements to bring the world to life in song. You can hear the crickets chirping outside his Texas hillside sanctuary on “SpiritFalls” and can feel the gentle tap of the rattlesnake’s tail in the imaginative intro to “Rolling On,” turning the album from a collection of songs into an experience with cinematic intros.
Through Lifted, Nash brings a sense of peace in a time when it’s desperately needed. “It’s all about finding, searching for little sparks of inspiration,” Nash says. “It may be a sound, a groove, a color, or even an object. Old things are inspiring. Whatever it is, when you find it, it spreads like a conflagration that is out of your control. It doesn’t matter if you’re making a record or living your life, find these inspirations with a vigil eye and watch them change both you and your world.”
It’s these words that Nash lives by, using little sparks of inspiration to create art as magnificent as Lifted, an album where Nash’s gift for thoughtfully portraying universal messages manifests at the core, encouraging the listener to gain grander insight into the world, opening one’s mind in ways they couldn’t imagine.