Posts Tagged ‘Gillian Welch’

Working in tandem with her erstwhile musical collaborator David Rawlings, singer/songwriter Gillian Welch searched through her vault and uncovered a rich cache of home demos and reel-to-reel recordings that she then assembled into three volumes of archival offerings. Collectively titled The Lost Songs and delineated as Boots Vol. 1, 2 and 3, she shares 48 songs in total, thus allowing fans and followers an opportunity to bear witness to Welch’s creative sensibilities and the unreleased music she and Rawlings recorded in the fertile period between her critically-acclaimed albums Time (The Revelator) and Soul Journey. An aural sketchbook of sorts, the three volumes reflect a certain creative consistency and Welch’s willingness to indulge her muse wherever it might lead.

Fans of Gillian Welch and her long time songwriting foil David Rawlings’s reimagining of early country and bluegrass are used to being patient. Until a month ago, the pair had only released five albums proper under her name, and three in his, since Welch’s 1996 debut, “Revival”. But after their studio, with all their old recordings, was almost destroyed by a tornado in March, they’ve changed tack. Hot on the heels of July’s covers album, “All the Good Times Are Past and Gone”, comes the follow-up to 2016’s first batch of archive recordings, The Official Revival Bootleg, with two more volumes.


While most of the offerings are rendered in stripped-down settings, all reflect a propensity to tap traditional sources and pay heed to a strong roots regimen. It’s music that’s rendered with a genuine folk finesse and a sound of a vintage variety.  The charm is manifest in both the novelty and the nuance. Although they are demos, with little more in play than guitar and Welch’s voice, they sound fully realised. 

First Place Ribbon, about barefoot Kathy, “the kinda girl likes the dust between her toes”, rattles along with an irresistible momentum; the narrator of the brooding Shotgun Song fantasises about escaping the chain gang; Valley of Tears is as desolately beautiful as its name suggests. That Welch and Rawlings have sat on such inspired recordings for almost two decades makes you wonder what other hidden treasures might be forthcoming.


Unearthed from a cache of home demos and reel-to-reel recordings, Boots No. 2: The Lost Songs is the second release of archival music from the vault of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. This remarkable 48 song collection, spread over three volumes, was recorded between the making of Time (The Revelator) and Soul Journey. It is an intimate glimpse at the artist’s sketchbook, containing some lifelong themes as well as some flights of fancy.


This album is all about the honed to a sharp fine edge, of Gillian Welch Goodness- excellent production, and just so damn real and fine.

From the new album , out now on Acony Records. Shot on location in Tennessee with acclaimed director James Lees. Southern This gothic tune appears on the singer-songwriter’s new album ‘Poor David’s Almanack,’

There are few figures in the Americana community who are as respected and beloved as David Rawlings. The songwriter, guitar slinger, producer and longtime Gillian Welch collaborator is one of the pioneers of the form, having played integral roles in such monumental releases as Welch’s 2001 Grammy-nominated Time (The Revelator), Ryan Adams’ 2000 solo debut Heartbreaker, and Old Crow Medicine Show’s 2004 self-titled studio debut. a new track from Poor David’s Almanack, the Southern Gothic stomp “Cumberland Gap.” As Rawlings explains, the track was a vital piece in finishing out Poor David’s Almanack, as it was one of the last songs to be completed in what he describes as “the fastest [they] ever made a record.”

Over the past decade, ever since releasing the first album under his own name — 2009’s Friend Of A Friend David Rawlings has gradually only emerged in his partnership with Gillian Welch as the duo’s primary vocal outlet. Though it often seems as though the only discernible difference between albums under Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings is who happens to be singing lead, three of their past four albums have been released under Rawlings’ name.

Poor David’s Almanack takes a more full-band approach toward Welch and Rawlings’ neo-traditionalist American roots music. Enlisting longtime collaborators like Willie Watson, Brittany Haas and Ketch Secor, Rawlings runs through a mix of light folk-rock, orchestrated country-soul, traditional country-gospel, and folksy low-country blues.

When recording under the Rawlings name, Welch and Rawlings are freer to toy around musically and stray from the note-perfect craftsmanship of the acoustic duo format they tend to stick to when performing as Gillian Welch. “Poor David’s Almanack”, for instance, features plenty of electric guitar, full string sections, rollicking fiddle and ramshackle three-part harmonies. 

A large component of Rawlings and Welch’s musical/historical project with their David Rawlings’ releases is their repeated insistence that in traditional music, there’s no such thing as a novelty song. Like on past comical high-dramas like 2009’s “Sweet Tooth” and 2015’s “Candy,” new numbers like “Yup,” “Good God A Woman” and “Money Is The Meat In The Coconut” are humorous, deadpan allegories that often tell deeper stories of lust, greed sex, and violence.

What’s so profoundly American about these songs are the way they often deploy humorous metaphor and simple, child-like storytelling devices to convey deeper, darker truths. Other times, the songs are simply funny stories without a larger lesson. In this way, Dave Rawlings records exist as an important counterweight to the inherent gravitas and high stakes seriousness in Gillian Welch albums.

photo by Johnson Giles

Available for the first time at the above shows, Gillian Welch’s long-awaited first record pressing will be 2011’s The Harrow & The Harvest, coming out on Acony Records on July 28th, 2017.

The long awaited first pressing of Gillian Welchs The Harrow & The Harvest was mastered direct from the original tapes through custom Ortofon amplifiers to a Neumann VMS-80 cutting system and plated and pressed on standard-weight audiophile-quality vinyl at Quality Record Pressings. Grammy-nominated for Best Engineered Album (Non Classical) and Best Folk Album, this deluxe package includes new full color cover art by John Dyer Baizley and full lyric insert.

“We have been working and waiting 20 years to bring you our music on phonograph record. It took a while, because we wanted to do it the right way, the absolute best way humanly possible, and I believe that’s what we’ve done. No sonic stone was left unturned, no nuance let fall by the wayside. There is honestly nothing else I can imagine hoping to hear out of the original tapes. It is all there in the groove. As people whose lives were changed by the sound of music coming off turntables, we humbly invite you to include us in your record collection.”

Gillian Welch

The Harrow & The Harvest on Vinyl - photo


Gillian Welch’s long-awaited first record pressing will be 2011’s The Harrow & The Harvest, coming out Acony Records on July 28, 2017. We have been working and waiting 20 years to bring you our music on phonograph record. It took a while, because we wanted to do it the right way, the absolute best way humanly possible, and I believe that’s what we’ve done. No sonic stone was left unturned, no nuance let fall by the wayside. There is honestly nothing else I can imagine hoping to hear out of the original tapes. It is all there in the groove. As people whose lives were changed by the sound of music coming off turntables, we humbly invite you to include us in your record collection.

from THE HARROW & THE HARVEST now being released on vinyl for the first time on July 28th, 2017

Boots No. 1: The Official Revival Bootleg CD

A new music video for “Dry Town (Demo)” from Boots No 1: The Official Revival Bootleg watch the delightfully animated film using good old fashioned stop motion, a few plastic dolls and some anthropomorphized shot glasses, created by artist Rachel Blumberg.

‘Dry Town’ came from a live experience I had on a road trip when I was just out of college,” says Welch  “David and I wrote the song shortly after moving to Nashville, after a show where we opened for Johnny Cash. We were so inspired to meet Johnny and see him in the flesh that we wanted to capture some of that narrative swagger and humor in a song of our own. Since the story is front and center, it seemed like a great chance to bring the song to life with stop motion animation.”

Welch said she gave the toy ’71 Buick featured prominently in the video to animator Rachel Blumberg (a former drummer for The Decemberists and Bright Eyes). It soon became the foundation for the video’s whole aesthetic.

Gillian had seen [the stop motion sketch comedy] Robot Chicken recently and thusly had the idea in her head of using action figures to tell the story in the song,” says Blumberg. “There were a lot of moments when I was inspired by the rhythm of a line, from the phrasing and melody, about how the characters should move, or what little moment was happening. Besides the music, the lyrics have a great visual quality and rhythm and it made sense to interpret things in a very literal way, which I think adds to the humor of the piece.”

Dry Town (Demo)” is from Gillian Welch’s Boots No. 1: The Official Revival Bootleg,

New album ‘Boots No. 1 – The Official Revival Bootleg’ out now

Gillian Welch – Boots No. 1: The Official Revival Bootleg 2xCD (Acony)
Boots No. 1: The Official Revival Bootleg is a companion to Welch’s Grammy-nominated debut, Revival, and features 21 outtakes, alternate versions, and demos from the making of Revival, including eight previously unheard songs. “‘Mostly I hear experimentation, trial and error.’ Gillian Welch is recalling her and partner Dave Rawlings 1996 Americana landmark debut, Revival. Her modesty is unwarranted. This is a revealing 21-track collection of outtakes, alternate versions, mixes and demos, some equal, if not superior, to the versions that made the album. These dark, mostly stripped-back tracks, including eight songs previously unreleased, expand our understanding of that signature recording, not least the road to her true voice. The gossamer ‘Paper Wings (Alternate Mix)’ floats in pedal steel heaven, while the home demo of ‘Tear My Stillhouse Down’ crackles with self-loathing, anger and guilt. ‘Red Clay Halo,’ later to appear on Time (The Revelator), also didn’t make it. It was in good company; ‘Dry Town,’ cut from Johnny Cash’s cloth, was another. Warts and all reissues can test the most loyal, but these gems, albeit flawed, simply fascinate.’”

Gillian Welch’s groundbreaking album Revival was released twenty years ago. To commemorate the anniversary, Welch’s own Acony Records will release Boots No 1: The Official Revival Bootleg on November 25th. Personally curated and produced by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, they worked alongside archivist Glen Chausse to mine selections from their extensive vault of analog tape recordings. The two-disc set will feature 8 previously unreleased songs, and include 21 outtakes, alternate versions, and demos from the making of the album such as the earliest home demo of “Orphan Girl,” which was recorded on a four track, and the rarity “Georgia Road,” a song that was only performed live once. The demo “Dry Town” was written the week after Welch and Rawlings opened for Johnny Cash . Gillian Welch is currently on tour as part of the Dave Rawlings Machine

Of the album, Gillian says, “I’m happy that the songs hold up. That’s probably the thing I’m most proud of. There is that interesting moment in any writer’s first batch of songs or any writer’s first novel or anything, a filmmaker’s first movie that always seems to have something that is different from what comes after. Something happens in that first push. Maybe because you’re usually up against more resistance. But there is a purity or a diamond hardness to the first batch that doesn’t seem to happen again. And so Revival has that when I look at it. Maybe it’s lack of ego. You know, there really was no me. You know, the artist Gillian Welch didn’t really exist. And then after that, I did.”

On Monday, Ryan Adams released a track-by-track cover of Taylor Swift’s smash hit album “1989” to mostly rave reviews Ryan has a huge catalog of songs with a wide music tatse here an electric cover of Gillian Welch’s classic. Sounds a bit like Neil Young/Crazy Horse. Ethan Johns wanted this on Heartbreaker. He thought Ryan had written it. He later found out it was a Gillian Welch/Dave Rawlings song and that they were using it on Time (The Revelator).


After releasing the highly acclaimed “Country Sleep” a couple years ago now, Winston Yellen aka Night Beds went quiet, deleting his Facebook and wiping his Twitter. He seems to be slowly re-emerging though, with a new single earlier this month likely previewing a second album (the Facebook’s back too). One thing he did during the down time though was a session in his home town of Denver, finally putting to tape the beautiful Gillian Welch cover he’d played a few times at early concerts.