The evocatively named Israel Nash Gripka hails from Missouri, relocated to New York, from where he launched his music career, and is now based in the even more evocatively named Dripping Springs, Texas but, judging by the burnished strains of his latest album, Israel Nash’s Rain Plans, his spiritual home is LA’s Laurel Canyon, birthplace of the west coast psychedelic roots rock scene of the late 1960s.
Israel Nash Gripka - ABC2, Glasgow
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From the opening bars of this Glasgow Americana Festival show, Gripka and his fine, simpatico band radiated a mostly peaceful easy feeling garnished with controlled distortion, freewheeling solos and a cavernous guitar sound which recalled Crosby, Stills, Nash and most definitely Neil Young.
Although they settled comfortably into a mainly mid-paced stride, most songs in the set had a core dynamism. The suitably stormy Rain Plans mixed melodic vulnerability with instrumental heft and packed a heads-down, hair-flailing freakout climax. Elsewhere, Fleet Foxes-like fragility was shored up with some Stonesy country soul, although the pedal steel playing would often lose out in the mix whenever the lead guitarist was on full wail.
There was less need for a subtle balance during the straight-up country rock encore, which culminated in the slightly bloated blowout of Baltimore.
All this unapologetically retro rocking was far from original, but it did have an organic ring to it, providing the appropriate vehicle for Gripka’s voice with its dual rootsy rasp and soothing soulful quality.