Jared Rabin’s connection to music started early in life, at age five specifically. His initial influences were weaned from his granddad, a first chair violinist for the Chicago Symphony. However, his interest quickly accelerated, leading him to become not only an adept multi-instrumentalist, but a musician clearly well versed in a variety of disparate genres.
In recent years, Rabin’s become a recipient of several awards and accolades, including his placement as a semi-finalist in the 2018 International Songwriting Competition, his steady elevation to the upper tier of the charts, and his accrual of a generous amount of national and international airplay.
Cold Rain and Snow marks Rabin’s first all-acoustic record, and as a follow-up to his well-received 2020 effort, No Direction, it finds him opting for a traditional sound embodying a vintage perspective and a mostly unassuming approach. Rabin plays all the instruments — guitar, fiddle, and mandolin mainly — save the occasional drums. Even so, the music sounds fully fleshed out, as if there’s a well-engaged ensemble. That’s particularly true when it comes to the rugged revelry found in Hey Mister Doctor, My Coyote, Most Any Diamond, and No Sympathy in particular.
With a nearly even mix between Rabin’s originals and a few old-time tunes, the new album keeps to a well-honed template that makes very few allowances for any contemporary interpretation. Like others of his ilk — Chris Thile, New Grass Revival, and the Punch Brothers in particular — Rabin commands attention and elevates interest through his playing and performances alone. That’s especially true when it comes to occasional instrumentals like Salt Creek and Whiskey for Breakfast, two entries in particular that allow his skills to shine with full flourish.
Musicians of Rabin’s calibre are generally found lending support to others, but given his ability to take the lead and meld articulate arrangements all on his own, Rabin’s clearly capable of claiming his credence. He’s also a skilled songwriter, and on a number like Drone of Days, he shows his talents aren’t limited to simply defining the delivery.
At this point, Rabin seems to have situated himself on the verge of wider recognition. Not surprisingly then, this album brings him closer than ever.