Gillian Welch | 09.03.11

Welch and Rawlings seem like one unified, artistic amalgam as their voices and playing styles blend seamlessly and beautifully.

 

 

The Pageant, St. Louis

Gillian Welch is not your typical Southern raised, down-home country girl. Not by a long shot, although listening to her music would lead you believe otherwise. Born in New York City and raised in Los Angeles, Welch became enamored with folk and bluegrass as a child. This interest, coupled with her voice and songwriting talent, led her to the Berklee School of Music and on to a highly successful music career.

Welch and her longtime songwriting partner, guitarist David Rawlings, are on tour in support of their latest release The Harrow & The Harvest. Welch and Rawlings have been playing together since their Berklee days and their nearly 20 years of chemistry shows. Welch and Rawlings seem like one unified, artistic amalgam as their voices and playing styles blend seamlessly and beautifully. It is clearly a special partnership that has yielded a wealth of spirited, intriguing, and well-orchestrated folk music.

Those not familiar with Welch by name may recognize some of her work from the critically acclaimed O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. Welch co-produced the album and contributed two songs, pairing on one song with singer Alison Krauss for a version of “I’ll Fly Away,” an old gospel song and one of the soundtrack’s highlights.

Welch is a serious songwriter, and her material includes some more-than-subtle hints of darkness as well as an abundance of life. While the backbone of the material lies well within the realm of bluegrass/country/folk, there are certainly many elements of rhythm and blues and old rock n’ roll that provides an edginess to the sound. Rawlings guitar playing really invokes the spirit of these styles and fuses them together into one intriguing, expressive collective. | Chris Sewell

Welch and Rawlings will be appearing at The Pageant on Saturday, September 3rd to showcase some of their tunes.

 

 

 

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