Now Listening: Greta Gaines’s Pale Star

The singer-songwriter and passionate angler honors her late collaborator on her first album since 2017

Photo: Alan MESSER

A top-notch angler, champion snowboarder, television host, and Nashville singer-songwriter, Greta Gaines doesn’t fit neatly into any one category. And neither does her music. While she’s a veteran of the early-90s alt-rock scene, her more recent work blends her grungier roots with country-leaning sensibilities, highlighting her strong vocals atop stripped-down instrumentals that let her lyrics shine.

Her latest release, Pale Star, offers a worthy entry point for those new to Gaines’s sound. Numbers like “Giving Up the Ghost” offer up-tempo grooves, while slower, more introspective tracks such as “Everafter” and “Angel of Mercy” showcase her low, mournful vocals. Gaines dedicated Pale Star to her late musical mentor and collaborator Bucky Baxter, a pedal steel player who performed with the likes of Bob Dylan and Steve Earle (and the father of Nashville singer-songwriter Rayland Baxter).

She recorded the album, her first since 2017’s Tumbleweed, live at Eastwood Studios in East Nashville and wrote or co-wrote all nine songs. Stream the title track below, a slow-strumming number reminiscent of Aimee Mann that finds inspiration, hope, and metaphor in the constellations above us. Pale Star is available to order here.