I Walked With You A Ways by Plains album Review by Greg Walker for Northern Transmissions


I Walked With You A Ways


“Well I’ll be better all my days / ‘Cause I walked with you a ways.” Katie Crutchfield (of Waxahatchee) and Jess Williamson (who put out the critically acclaimed Sorceress in 2020) can say as much about each other, after meeting a few years back and becoming fast friends. Both of them, consummate songwriters and successful women artists, had the same country roots (originating from Alabama and Texas) and the same feeling like they should hide those affections, and embrace the indie aesthetic alone. Well, on their latest collaboration, something that recalls the great country duos and trios—like The Chicks, The Judds, and Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Rondstadt’s Trio records—they throw off the bow lines and make a quintessential country album with their duo Plains.

“This aching spirit’s gotta mend / ‘Fore I let you in,” Williamson sings on the bendy and upbeat, “No Record of Wrongs.” And the feeling of the record, which deals with failed relationships, high expectations, and country grace, is two woman who know what they want, (musically and personally,) after many years of false starts. “When the summer sun melts candles / I dig out the wick / Honey, we’re up against something / Our love alone can’t fix,” Williamson opens the album, and it’s a reminder that women through the ages have known what love will take, and what not to settle for. Or as they put it on the next song, a country hit if there ever was one: “If you can’t do better than that, babe / I got a problem with it.”

Crutchfield and Williamson create on this album a soundtrack for self-respect and mature love. The obvious highlight is how the two compliment each other harmonically and it shines on each song, whether it’s written by Crutchfield or Williamson. There’s not really a hint of the indie aesthetic they’re used to before joining up, and their bold embrace of country music is a strong statement of personal intent. “I come in like a cannonball / I’ve been that way my whole life… / I know you’ll love me anyway.”

It is refreshing to see artists who consistently break the mold, who do what feels right to them, as opposed to catering to their fan base. There are certainly country sentiments in each of their solo projects, so it doesn’t come as a complete surprise. But there has been talk in the country circles about the desire to go back to 90’s country’s authenticity and strong female presence, and the duo are an answer to some people’s prayers, creating a project that is at once strong and beautiful. It is an album of one gem after another, and will certainly be winning some young people over to the country side of things.

Order I Walked With You A Ways by Plains HERE


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