Album Review

Plains - I Walked With You a Ways

I Walked with You a Ways counts among the year’s most affecting and life-affirming records; a timeless piece about life, love and loss.

Holler Country Music

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Plains - a word evoking windswept plateaus, containing both great desolation and startling beauty. Jess Williamson and Waxahatchee's Katie Crutchfield lean into this provocative image with their brand new album, I Walked with You a Ways; a scenic excursion through pastel-painted meadows and sweeping farmland. Their hearts are weary, yet there’s a gleam in their eyes for the countryside around them.

The record, produced with Brad Cook, was written between Kansas City, Los Angeles and Marfa and then recorded in Durham, North Carolina. The wide open road feels ingrained in the 10 songs, nestled like ferns poking out of the ground and spreading magical emeralds in the air. There’s the crunch of car wheels on a gravel road, the warmth of the sun’s rays, and bug guts ricocheting off the windshield.

I Walked with You a Ways stretches through the human experience with elastic energy, from extending compassion (“I don’t wanna give you an eye for an eye / There’s a heart beating under”, the duo harmonize on ‘Line of Sight’) to faded love (‘Abilene’) and taking up space (‘Hurricane’).

Then, there’s the matter of a song like ‘Bellafatima’, a pulverizing lamentation on the ephemeral condition of time and love’s merciful duty to it. “The days turn like cowards, so swiftly to the hour of me / And I’ll be a martyr to whatever your heartache will leave,” they vow.

With a band comprised of Spencer Tweedy and Phil Cook, I Walk with You a Ways crescendos to the finale and title track, on which the duo muse on temporary relationships that forever change you. “On the winding path of life, sometimes you walk alone / ‘Cause people come and go,” Williamson and Crutchfield sing. “There is a season for each one / They change your heart and then it’s done…”

The line “they change your heart” also applies to the art that deeply moves us. An album like Plains’ I Walked with You a Ways counts among the year’s most affecting and life-affirming; a timeless piece about life, love and loss.

8.5/10


I Walked With You a Ways is out on Friday 14th October via Anti. You can purchase the record from one of Holler's selected partners below:

Holler Country Music

Anti | 2022

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