Celebrated Texas-via-Missouri singer-songwriter Israel Nash and Loose Music are excited to present “Roman Candle”, the latest soaring single lifted from the 20 October release of Nash’s brand new album titled ‘Ozarker‘.
An explosive, heartland rock ‘n’ roll firework show that chases confidence and inner strength, “Roman Candle” follows the release of the album’s fiery title track, a song that is the subject of the launch of Nash’s ‘Beyond The Song‘ series, a rich, documentary-style collection dedicated to the stories and characters that inspire and shape the forthcoming album.
Recorded with producer Kevin Ratterman (My Morning Jacket, Ray LaMontagne), Nash’s rousing new collection is an ode to his roots. But more than that, it’s a meditation on love and family, on the beauty and the pain we pass down through generations, on the ties that bind us through good times and bad. The music here harkens back to the heartland rock that Nash grew up on — Petty, Springsteen, Seger — with larger-than-life guitars and anthemic melodies, and whose lyrics are similarly cinematic, painting captivating portraits of everyday men and women doing their best to get by with dignity and self-respect. “I think the reason so much of that classic heartland rock and roll endures is because it touches on themes we all feel so deeply: desire, struggle, commitment, escape,” says Nash. “As an artist, I’m always aspiring to touch as many people as possible, and that’s what this music has always represented for me.”
Israel Nash may live in the Texas Hill Country, but he’ll always be an Ozarker at heart. The son of a Baptist preacher and an artist, Nash retreated to Dripping Springs, Texas, where he built his own studio on a ranch and began embracing a more spacious, psychedelic sound that has landed somewhere between Neil Young and Pink Floyd. “I was born and raised in small-town Missouri,” Nash reflects. “All the people and the stories and the music that shaped me come from that part of the country, and I could feel it calling back to me on this album.”
Inspired to learn more about his ancestry, Nash reached out to his mother, who began filling pages with her recollections of generations of Ozarkers. Rather than write the album at home in his studio, Nash decamped to nearby Wimberley, Texas, where he rented a house on the Blanco River and got to work with just a guitar, an old Casio keyboard, a vintage drum machine, and a four-track tape recorder. The idea was to force himself to stay simple and honest, to avoid falling into routines, or getting lost in the gear, and to instead write with the urgency and intention the songs demanded.
Some of the characters featured on this new album come directly from Nash’s own family history, others from second-hand accounts, but all share a distinctly Midwestern resilience, their hopes and dreams and triumphs and failures rendered with great tenderness and empathy. It would be easy for Nash to mythologize the place he comes from, to render judgment on the landscape and its people with the benefit of distance and hindsight, but ‘Ozarker‘ instead presents honest, intimate snapshots of its subjects, resisting the urge to romanticise the past and never losing sight of the humanity at the heart of it all.
The result is a lush wall of sound that feels both vintage and modern all at once as it swirls 50 years of American roots rock into a fierce sonic maelstrom. Opener “Can’t Stop” sets the stage, with percolating synthesisers bubbling up beneath reverb-drenched guitars that build into an explosive crescendo. Like much of the album, it’s a song about motion and growth and liberation, but there’s also doubt lurking beneath the surface. The fiery “Roman Candle” chases confidence and inner-strength, while the melancholy “Pieces” searches for a sense of normalcy in the wake of loss, and the dreamy “Firedance” refuses to surrender to the weight of the world.
Elsewhere, the rapturous title track tells the story of Nash’s great-grandfather, a migrant worker who fell in love with an orchard owner’s daughter and kept his promise to return in a year to marry her; the searing “Lost In America” — inspired by a family friend — follows a shell-shocked Vietnam vet who can’t find peace in his own skin; and the ominous “Shadowland” explores the vicious cycles of drug abuse and poverty that continue to haunt struggling families in rural Missouri. “No matter where you come from or where you go, you’ll always carry your past with you,” Nash reflects. “The people, the places, the stories, that’s what makes you you.” It’s what makes Israel Nash an Ozarker.
Subscribe to Israel Nash’s brand new online community on Substack, ‘Cosmic Eagle’, which features brand new music, unreleased songs, special guest appearances, road stories and more HERE.
1. Can’t Stop
2. Roman Candle
5. Going Back
7. Lost in America
8. Midnight Hour
9. Travel On
ISRAEL NASH – NEW SINGLE: “ROMAN CANDLE”
OUT TODAY VIA LOOSE
STREAM ON YOUTUBE HERE