Katie Crutchfield has already graced the stage of Union Transfer twice this year, and during her third and most recent 2022 appearance at the Eraserhood ballroom, the singer/songwriter revealed that she was just informed she had played the venue more than any other artist… Her two sold-out appearances this April at 1026 Spring Garden marked a homecoming (She was once a resident of the 215 and apparently still considers it a home of sorts.) for her primary project, Waxahatchee. However, her stop last Thursday, November 10th, had Crutchfield alongside indie-folk singer/songwriter Jess Williamson as Plains, a one-off Americana collaborative project.
Unlike the Waxahatchee shows, which – thanks to the pandemic – were two years in the making, Plains’ recent performance came up relatively quickly. This July marked the introduction of Katie Crutchfield and Jess Williamson’s project, with their first and only album (I Walked With You A Ways) set to drop October 14th via ANTI- and the band’s first and only tour to kick off on October 21st in Seattle. The project set out to explore the sounds of the country music which Crutchfield and Williamson grew up loving, including Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, The Judds, and The Chicks, amongst others.
Although the month between the release of I Walked With You A Ways and the band’s show at Union Transfer gave fans a chance to learn the music of Plains, most seemed to decide against it… But that didn’t hinder anyone’s enjoyment of the evening. Drinks flowed and maturing hipsters tried their best impressions of what they knew of country dancing, while decked out in what could be considered urban-outfitted honky-tonk rags. And, to be honest, the live soundtrack made for a night of far more conventional fun-loving than Crutchfield’s previous performances, which inspired a more introverted awe in those who had spent their adult lives growing alongside the musician.
Crutchfield and Williamson’s 17-song set – which clocked in at just over an hour – featured all 10 of the album’s tracks, in addition to two of Williamson’s songs (including an unreleased one) and “Can’t Do Much” and “Lilacs,” off of Waxahatchee’s Saint Cloud (which certainly received the biggest crowd reactions of the night). The set also featured a handful of standards, such as Waylon Jennings’ “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” (assumedly an ode to the Philadelphia Eagles’ biggest rivals), Terry Allen’s “Amarillo Highway,” and The [seemingly-only-recently-relevant-to-Pitchfork-readers] Chicks’ “Goodbye Earl,” which closed out the evening to shocked jubilation on behalf of the nearly-capacity crowd.