The musical landscape of 2021 just keeps getting better. Having already soundtracked 2020 with the excellent Summerlong from Rose City Band, Ripley Johnson gives us all a new companion to our solitude. The last album was marked by its breezy communal feel — a celebration of the road that got under the skin to spread the warmth of eternal summer. Earth Trip is by turns a much more solitary record, as might be expected of something recorded over the past year. The first song slows his Summerlong pace and simmers in the feeling of space and the ache of loneliness. Though it finds a silver lining in the joys of being alone in nature that might otherwise be spoiled by a crowd.
Still marked by Ripley’s sun-washed cosmic country that merges West Coast psych with private press ‘70s country, but this time the pace is slowed and that sense of ease that was ever-present in the past is tinged with a bittersweet ache. While the record was recorded mostly at home in Johnson’s studio, Rip’s glycerine guitar passages are offset by some excellent pedal steel work by one of 2020’s consistent stunners — Barry Walker Jr. “Lonely Places” practically sighs with Walker’s contributions, helping the listener get lost in the verdant respite of Johnson’s song. The new LP is out May 21st from Thrill Jockey.
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