Jess williamson and Waxahatchee's Katie Crutchfield team up for an incredible night of old country sounds refreshed for a modern age.
Plains, a project created by the duo of Crutchfield and Williamson, is relatively new, with its debut album, I Walked with You a Ways, releasing just this past September. However, these are two veteran musicians with over two decades of musical experience between the two. Both born in the south, they wanted to step back to their roots after years of indie-rock success.
Singer/songwriter MJ Lenderman opened up the night. Lenderman is one of the finest songwriters around, and his performance was equally as good. From his low and genuine singing to the stellar instrumentation. Tight drumming, an absolutely crazy tambourine moment, and some of the finest lap steel playing I have ever heard.
This duo was just plain fun to watch. The way they bounced off each other was simply adorable, with their on-stage chemistry being not only natural, but infectious. I would often find them smiling at each other more than the crowd, which certainly shows the level of camaraderie the two have for each other. Their set would often have them bounce off of one another, trading off lead vocals and guitar.
Harmonically Katie and Jess were a perfect fit. There was never a moment of "oh, these two don't sound good together" throughout the entire night. I genuinely don't know why they weren't referred to as a supergroup, because this performance was nothing but super. Additionally, the rest of Waxahatchee, Crutchfield's band, supported the two with back instrumentation.
Plains' mellow and often gloomy music sparkled under their production. A soft velvet backdrop and subtle pink and yellow lighting added an aura of lightness and peace. All the while the band were performing dismally sad songs. Now sitting at my desk removed from the show, it really painted a picture in my mind, something more than a memory. This performance felt like an emotion more than anything else.
With only 10 songs under the Plains name, the duo were bound to add some extra flavor to the set. They both performed two of their own originals, with Katie performing both from Waxahatchee's latest album, Saint Cloud. They also threw in three covers, ranging from Waylon to The Chicks.
1. Summer Sun
2. Problem With It
3. Line of Sight
4. Wind on Tin (Jess Williamson song)
5. Can't Do Much (Waxahatchee song)
7. Last 2 on Earth
9. Lilacs (Waxahatchee song)
11. Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grown Up to Be Cowboys (Waylon Jennings cover)
12. Hunter (Jess Williamson song)
13. No Record of Wrongs
14. I Walked With You a Ways
16. Amarillo Highway (Robert Earl Keen cover)
17. Goodbye Earl (The Chicks cover)
Right at dozen shows are left to greet the band on their debut tour. Katie Crutchfield also has one more appearance this year with Waxahatchee at Zona Music Festival 2022. Their full dates are below.
11/06 Atlanta, GA — Variety Playhouse*
11/07 Saxapahaw, NC — Haw River Ballroom*
11/09 Washington D.C. — Howard Theatre*
11/10 Philadelphia, PA — Union Transfer*
11/11 New York, NY — Webster Hall*
11/12 Jersey City, NJ — White Eagle Hall*
11/13 Boston, MA — Royale*
11/15 Toronto, ON — The Axis Club*
11/16 Detroit, MI — The Majestic Theatre*
11/17 Chicago, IL — The Vic Theatre*
11/18 Minneapolis, MN — First Avenue*
11/19 Kansas City, MO — Knuckleheads Saloon*
12/04 Phoenix, AZ — Zona Music Festival 2022^
* with MJ Lenderman
^ Waxahatchee with Kevin Morby
I really hope we get more music from Plains. This show was a masterclass in country music and I hope to see it redefine what is popular in the genre. Plains have not only re-embraced their southern musical heritage, but recaptured it and reimagined it into something wonderful.