Sunday, 21 August 2011

Random Review #99 Gillian Welch - Time (The Revelator)

C11S8CD7 Gillian Welch is the darling of the Americana scene, she has just released her 5th solo album and again has received rave reviews from music post and fans alike.

Gillian Welch is an artist that cares not for fashion with regard to music. Her music is timeless, transporting you back to the 1940’s dust bowl of Middle America, and other than modern day lyrical references (Elvis Presley Blues and I Want To Sing That Rock And Roll) you would be hard pushed to identify old and new played back to back.

She is always assisted by Dave Rawlings who co-writes all the songs, plays guitar and adds vocal harmonies when required. They seem to come as a pair, as you can see and hear them on Ryan Adams debut album Heartbreaker. Although Welch recorded with a fuller band on her 4th album Soul Journey, this album like most of her work is nothing more than vocals, guitars and the odd use of banjo.

This was my introduction to Welch and it is safe to say I was hooked from the opening Revelator, 6 ½ minutes that drags you in to Welch’s music and doesn’t allow you to leave until the closing  track I Dream A Highway which clocks in at nearly 15 minutes finishes. In between we get some great tunes My First Lover, and the aforementioned Elvis Presley Blues and I Want To Sing.... are classic Americana.

Welch seems happy just playing music as I have noticed she contributed on all of the tracks to one of my favourite albums of this year, The Decemberists, The King Is Dead.

To prove my point about Welch’s music being timeless, search YouTube for Gillian Welch Black Star, what you will get is her and Rawlings reworking Radiohead’s classic track from The Bends. She makes it her own and although the tune and the lyrics are the same the sound is a million miles away from the original.

Mark 9/10

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