Israel Nash performs Saturday night in Columbus at the Rumba Café. Nash recorded his latest release at a studio he built at his home in Dripping Springs, Texas.
In this edition of Music Journeys, Nash explains how he hopes the music helps listeners let go of yesterday’s troubles and move forward with positivity.
Strong Was The Night plays...
Israel Nash's story begins in rural southwest Missouri, growing up around a musical family.
"My grandpa and grandma sang in a gospel radio hour in the 1950's," Nash recalled. "There were guitars and instruments around. My dad was a minister, so in the church there were pianos and harps and finger symbols and just things to make noise. I was around music my whole life. I started playing piano when I was 8 for a few years, then really kind of found my love with guitar. My mom was a songwriter as well in the 70's. She had a classical guitar in the closet for years. I started playing that thing and learned old folk songs."
While Nash certainly loved all the instruments, he developed a strong appreciation of writing. It's a process he describes as isolated and beautiful. He's released five full length recordings since 2009, the most recent coming this summer with the 12-track Lifted.
Rolling On plays...
Rolling On kicks off the record. Disappointed in the recent political landscape, Nash opted to write uplifting songs rather than dwelling on his downhearted feelings.
"Writing that song was me trying to get out of that depression," Nash reflected. "This is how things are, but I can't just stay in a funk. It's gotta move forward. That's the beauty that music has always given me. Writing and even performing it is some of the greatest representation of being in the moment. Because time flies by, it just moves so fast. So I realized how much that's been a meditative state even before I ever started meditating. Music has done that naturally. I'll have songs that are political, but I also think the more that people can be woke to the concepts of love and appreciation that that's a cure too that changes the world around you . I'm not so bold to think a record can just change the mass of the world, but I always say change the world around you, however big or small that is. Put beautiful things in the world and share something with other people."
Looking Glass plays...
The song Looking Glass started off the writing process for Lifted, the first collection of songs Nash wrote and recorded in his own studio in Dripping Springs, Texas - the place he's called home for several years.
"The studio is a newer chapter in my songwriting and as a producer and an artist," Nash said. "I have this sound in my head, and I can get it out relatively quickly in a way I couldn't do years ago. It's realizing the studio can be an instrument of its own and really help shape the song too. But that song felt great and helped me with the process of trying to find this wall of sound stuff. I had been reading a lot about Phil Spector achieving that on All Things Must Pass by George Harrison - double drums or four acoustic guitars playing the same part on one microphone. So that's the first song I got to try these ideas and make it what I call this hill country, hillbilly wall of sound "
Lucky Ones plays...
The track Lucky Ones came to Nash after dozing off in the studio one night. He woke up with the tempo in his head and worked on the song until the next morning.
"You don't know when it's going to hit," Nash said. "I just try to be available where music takes me, regardless of the time. It was about some of the deeper things, realizing that I didn't need to be in the spotlight. I could be isolated and be out in the country. But there's a balance of that. I think the song represents me finding the beauty and my purpose and responsibility in it and seeing that it's all connected. That's kind of what the chorus is all about, that we're all of one. For me, to see that on a large scale but also that part of one I've had with my wife and daughter and that we're a part of one."
Sweet Springs plays...
"Music connects me with myself and helps me understand my perspective," Nash said. "It also is a vehicle that allows me to connect with other people around the world and share in something that's bigger than me and more important than music which is human beings coming together, being appreciative and smiling together, and being connected."
"I want to make a bunch of records," Nash said. "I was inspired by Prince and Paisley Park and the idea that you could have a vault and always be making records. I kind of have a goal of to make a few records in a year and see what happens or save one and put it out in 20 years. I realize I want to go different places and have surprises in there. Because that's where inspiration is too when you go down new paths or do something you haven't done. I want to keep it fresh on every step."
Nash also encourages all of us to search and find those little sparks of inspiration. As he says, it might be a sound, a groove, a color, or an object. Nash remains convinced that whether you're making a record or just living life, it's the small inspirations than can change you and the world around you.