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Gillian Welch


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Contemporary folk/country with elements of Appalachian music, bluegrass and Americana

Status:

Most recent release, Boots No.1: Official (2CD, 2016)

See also:

Gillian Welch's site

Wikipedia's entry on Gillian Welch

Comparisons:

Alison Krauss, Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, Iris DeMent, Jolie Holland

Covers/own material:

Mostly co-written

General comments:

If you appreciate a starkly folky/acoustic, Appalachianesque country approach with occasional excursions into the likes of Patsy Cline, Carl Perkins, Les Paul & Mary Ford, etc etc. Her lyrics are intelligent and poetic, never Nashville Smarmy, and her show consists in its entirety of herself on vocals, acoustic guitar and banjo and her beau, David Rawlings on harmony vocals and an incredibly beat-up-looking holeless acoustic guitar from which he wrestles the most amazing solos and fills. I'm certainly no fan of country music per se, but good music is good music—and this is VERY good music. (rkonrad@ ibm.net)

Comments about live performance:

I saw Gillian and David Rawlings at the Paramount in Santa Fe last month. I have her first album, which I think is fine, but it hasn't really struck me that much. However, I really liked how all the songs sounded live. It was just her and David, both playing guitars, and the songs were very rich and powerful. David is a stellar guitar player, and his contributions to the songs fleshed them out wonderfully. They played pretty much all of the new album, which I picked up that night (and still haven't listened to), plus a lot of cover songs that I probably can't remember anymore. Um, Neil Young's "Albuquerque" was one. They also played a song called "Tennessee Stud", which I know from Johnny Cash's American Recordings. Gillian seems to like to sing in a very slow, drawn out way, and that was particularly highlighted in this song. She does it at about half the tempo of Johnny. His version has an edgy bluster to it (you know, more macho), while hers had a quiet mournfulness. Quiet mournfulness is a pretty good description of a lot of her music. I was particularly impressed with the new song "My Morphine", which contained the slowest, most depressing, yodeling I've ever heard.
     One thing that really made this show as the dry humour of both performers. Their between song comments were very understated (surprise, surprise), but also wickedly funny. If her music seems somewhat interesting to you, I'd recommend the show, as it really comes to life live. And if you haven't heard it, it's a very traditional, country blues kind of thing. Sorta like Lucinda Williams (crossed with Cordelia's Dad maybe. Now that I've finally seen them, I feel like I'm hearing their sound all over the place.) (5/1999, neal)

Recommended first album:

Any

Recordings:


Hell Among the Yearlings

Release info:

1998

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Comments:

Gloriously spare 1930s Appalachian folk music from suburban L.A. (rkonrad@ ibm.net)

Every bit as strong as her first. I received an advance copy a few days ago and it hasn't left my cd player since. If you enjoyed Revival then this disc will be a MUST!!! ( pvarker@gibraltar1.com)


Time (The Revelator)

Release info:

2001—Acony Records—ACNY-0103

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Produced by:

David Rawlings

Comments:

Probably my most played CD of 2001, so simple, so soulful. I always expect superb material from Gillian and David Rawlings, but I think this is the best they've done to date. I think this sets the theme for my top picks of 2001 in that it demonstrates how little musical content is necessary to convey musical excellence. When I see a stage fill with 10 guitars, 5 drums and several other instruments, I get nervous. (jsutton@hrmusic.com)

One of the 50 best albums of the 2000s. (gordodo@optonline.net)


Soul Journey

Release info:

2003

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Comments:

Everything she touches is excellent, I can buy any Gillian album without first hearing it, and know that I will get a great album... this is no exception! (raven@igc.org)

I have a theory that a lot of artists seem to put their best efforts in their first album. Don't know how Gillian manages to stay so consistently wonderful with all her releases. This one lives up to its name. Has a real introspective soulful feel to it. (edcole@halcyon.com)


The Harrow & the Harvest

Release info:

2011—Acony Records—ACNY-1109

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Gillian Welch—vocal, guitar, banjo, harmonica, hands & feet

Guest artists:

David Rawlings—vocal, guitar, banjo, harmonica

Produced by:

David Rawlings

Comments:

I'm not a fan of Gillian's though I respect her work, but this is really a lovely album, especially for people who like brooding folk. (JoAnn Whetsell)

One of the best albums of 2011. (gordodo@optonline.net, valrichardson@igc.org)


Further info:

Gillian Welch released The Revelator Collection DVD in 2002.

Compilation work includes:

  • "Miner's Prayer" on Will Sing for Food: The Songs of Dwight Yoakam (1998)
  • "Leaving Train" on The Horse Whisperer soundtrack (1998)
  • "Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby" and "I'll Fly Away" on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack (2000)
  • "Hickory Wind" on Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons (2000)
  • live versions of "Dear Someone" and "I Want to Sing That Rock and Roll" on Down From the Mountain (2001)
  • "Wind & Rain" on Songcatcher (2001)
  • a live version of "My Morphine" on Concerts for a Landmine-Free World (2001)
  • "Beulah Land" on Avalon Blues: A Tribute to the Music of Mississippi John Hurt (2001)
  • "In Tall Buildings" on Live From Mountain Stage: A Tribute to John Hartford (2001)
  • "Summer Evening" on Going Driftless: An Artist's Tribute to Greg Brown (2002)
  • a live version of "Caleb Meyer" on Bonnaroo 2004 (CD/DVD, 2004)
  • "Look at Miss Ohio" and "Pocahontas" on the Jimmy Carter Man From Plains soundtrack (2007)
  • "The Way It Will Be" on The Bridge School Concerts 25th Anniversary Edition (2011)
Collaborations include:

  • "Love Still Remains" with Emmylou Harris on Treasures Left Behind: Remembering Kate Wolf (1998)
  • "Oh Death" with Ralph Stanley & Friends on their album Clinch Mountain Sweethearts (2001)
  • "Fifty Miles of Elbow Room" with James Alan Shelton on his album Song for Greta (2002)
  • "Katie Dear" with The Chieftains on their album Down the Old Plank Road: The Nashville Sessions (2003)
  • "One Hundred Years From Now" with Lloyd Green on his album Revisited (2004)
  • "Loretta" with Norah Jones on her album ...Featuring Norah Jones (2010)
  • "How Many Times Have You Broken My Heart" with Norah Jones on Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams (2011)


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2016-11-23 17:29:20.
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