In the mid 90’s, I asked one of my music writer friends to recommend five artists that I had never heard of. I ended up getting a bunch of great recommendations including Beck — I had ignored “Loser” but Odelay had just come out and I was blown away. Three others have been lost to time but were also decent. But by far the best of the bunch was Gillian Welch, who had just come out with her first album, Revival. Renée and I have been fanatic fans ever since. If you’re not, you are missing something special.
Gillian Welch is a person but in this context is really a duo made up of Gillian the person and her husband David Rawlings. Their best music is just the two of them: she on lead vocals and guitar or banjo, he on harmony vocals and lead guitar. But quite frankly, when they start playing it’s pretty hard to tell who is playing or singing which part as they harmonize like a couple who have been playing together non-stop for 20 years.
They’re on tour now for their new album, The Harrow & The Harvest, which is a great place to start if you’ve never heard them. They just played the Bay Area a few weeks ago but will be back (as they usually are) for the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in the fall. Trust me, even if the word bluegrass scares you off, give this album a shot. There is no better Saturday or Sunday morning music to have playing on the music box.
If you already know and like them, check out this interview. If you don’t and want a taste, here’s their recent performance on Conan.Share
Older PostsFanfic and Crowdsourcing A&R (June 2011)
Bess, 1999-2011 (June 2011)
Schadenfreude and the Dodgers (April 2011)