It’s true that often you don’t realize how much you miss something until it’s gone. I was acutely reminded of this when I heard Rachel Grimes new LP, Book of Leaves. Grimes ensemble, Rachel’s, is responsible for some of my favorite albums of the last 20 years. I was always thrilled when their new recordings showed up on the store shelves, but then it all stopped. Many times over the years I’ve wondered if they would ever record anything else, or if they were finished for good. Hearing Book of Leaves made me remember just how much I miss Rachel’s, but it gives me hope for future Grimes solo records.
I find the songs on Book of Leaves are more cohesive than some of the later Rachel’s records. These songs seem to belong together, interacting with each other closely, but in different ways on each listen. Most tend to be quiet and contemplative, but once in a while Grimes picks up the tempo adding a nice variety. “My Dear Companion” is a near perfect track, combining the upbeat with tender passages that are really unforgettable. I would also recommend the two tracks that start the second side, “Mossgrove” and “Bloodroot”. The mood of this record is well served by its beautiful gatefold cover. Adorned with photos of trees, moss, and wood, the cover is a stunning and appropriate representation of the music is houses. These songs grow slowly, they seem quiet, yet are full of life, and like many aspects of nature, their beauty is in their subtlety.
While I do miss the full ensemble sound of Rachel’s, Rachel Grimes has cut a new path for herself with Book of Leaves. These songs retain the essence of Rachel’s beauty, but successfully leave the past in the past and forge a new way for a very talented artist. Please buy this record here. Act fast as these seem to be disappearing quickly.