Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield and indie darling Jess Williamson have set out together as Plains, a collaborative duo and as of now, one-off project born out of their mutual admiration society for one another’s music. Already friends, the two traded their most recent releases, Saint Cloud and Sorceress respectively, and upon listening felt there was ground awaiting the two of them to cover together. The result is I Walked With You A Ways, a collection of songs that while new feel like they’ve been with us forever, having long ago seeped into a collective consciousness waiting to be unearthed.
Both artists already treaded in work fastened to strong senses of place. It can be easy through Crutchfield’s music to feel at home as she shares her Alabama youth or her slowed-down nowhere-more-middle-American Kansas City now, and Williamson’s Texan roots firm the base of her work, in spite of their brief New York City disruption. Working from these regional energies, the duo share complementary and fully compatible musical space in their song craft. Once they were able to get together in producer Brad Cook’s North Carolina studio, the work was easy.
“A lot of Jess’s songs were these old-school Country Waltzes, which I love,” Crutchfield told the New York Times’ Lindsay Zoladz. “It was a nice juxtaposition to the songs I was bringing in, which were a little more ’90s Pop-Country or Southern-Rock feeling.”
In the bright “Summer Sun,” the two sing together in tandem as if sharing a voice, almost sisterly. Crutchfield leads off single “Problem With It” while Williamson plucks the banjo until joining the chorus with matching vocal strength. Later, Williamson lays her heart bare in Texas Waltz, “Abilene” with Crutchfield rising up in soft support behind her. Bandmates Spencer Tweedy and Phil Cook fill in the surrounding spaces and the ten stories unfold in easy fashion leaving listeners perhaps hoping there are more to be told in the future.
Plains is on tour now spinning virtually everywhere across Triple A including at The Colorado Sound, Lightning 100, The Current, and many, many more.
Photo by Molly Matalon