Everything is Free – Gillian Welch (and, increasingly, others)

I had another post planned. I’m working on it. But I saw this the other day and it sparked some thoughts. So here’s something a bit more off the cuff. I’m delighted by anything that gives increased exposure to Gillian Welch. God knows she deserves it. Everything is Free is one of the finest songs […]

Demos revisted – Two versions of Gillian Welch’s Orphan Girl

Consider this a late follow-up to the post from last week on demos and alternate versions Gillian Welch’s Revival was a pretty astonishing debut, but in the light of the records she’s made since – particular her masterwork Time (The Revelator) and 2011’s The Harrow & the Harvest – it sounds a little studied, a […]

Soul Journey & Hell Among the Yearlings – Gillian Welch

Gillian Welch may be the greatest working songwriter (I can’t think of a credible alternative), but at least two of her albums are interesting failures rather than works of consistently high quality. They’re her second and fourth, 1998’s Hell Among the Yearlings and 2003’s Soul Journey. Soul Journey is the more easily understood. Perhaps sensing […]

Gillian Welch, living in the now

Queen of the fakes and imitators Time’s the revelator.  Gillian Welch, 2001 Between 1996 and 2001 Gillian Welch largely abandoned the in-character, past-tense storytelling of her first two records and begun writing demotic lyrics in an unidentified but discernible ‘now’. Between 1996 and 2001 Gillian Welch turned herself into (in my view anyway) the best […]

Classic Openers & Closers

Not all classic albums have classic opening tracks. Very good openers, sure, but not genuinely arresting, heart-stopping brilliant ones. The same is true – truer, even – for final songs. And then there are those strange few classics that have bad last songs. Why is this? Well, part of what makes a record a classic […]

Songs that mention dates

Happy Bobby Goldsboro Day, everyone! Why is it Bobby Goldsboro day? Because it’s 30 June. That is, it’s the last day of June – the date mentioned in Goldsboro’s 1973 hit Summer (The First Time), in which the narrator recalls his first sexual experience, with a 31-year-old woman he met at the age of 17. […]

Final songs

The following post probably shouldn’t be taken all that seriously. Just a few thoughts I’ve been kicking around for a couple of days. There is a difference between a great collection of songs and a collection of great songs. Revolver is a collection of (mostly) great songs. Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is a […]

Harmony-singing heaven – the short and precious career of Tres Chicas

Hi all. It’s a very busy week this week, with my day off tomorrow looking likely to be not very ‘off’ at all. So I’ve dug into the archives and pulled out a post I wasn’t totally happy with about music I really like. Here’s a new and more fleshed-out version to tide you over […]

No Hendrix, no Clapton, no Vai – five personal favourite guitar solos, part 5

5) Revelator – Gillian Welch (solos by David Rawlings) I love every note that David Rawlings plays. Every clanking, honking, midrangey note. The man’s a genius. Rawlings is Gillian Welch‘s lead guitarist, harmony singer and husband. The entity that releases records under the name ‘Gillian Welch’ is actually composed of two people: Welch and Rawlings. […]

Some Sunday-evening thoughlets

After a week where I’d written two RIP pieces, I really wanted to quickly bash out something upbeat and positive about some life-affirming music. However, it’s now late on Sunday evening after another long day of work (that’s the problem with freelancing – sometimes you’ve got to take the work and worry later about how […]