Tue, 23 May 2006

Gillian Welch - Time (the Revelator)

(album cover art)

I watched a bit of Rage on Saturday night and heard a song which sent shivers up and down my spine. The song was "Time (the Revelator)" by Gillian Welch. Yesterday, Monday, I went out and bought the CD of the same name and its been on high rotation ever since. I'm stunned. This thing is just amazing.

Gillian Welch is usually listed as a country artist, but its not the lame assed, over produced, formulaic crap that people usually associate with mainstream contemporary country music. No, this is something deeper, more mysterious and more breathtaking. This is the country music of the 1930s, mixed with folk and blues and lyrics which range from timelessly tradional to contemporary.

The majority of the songs are just Gillian and her musical partner David Rawlings; two voices and two acoustic guitars. Both musicians have avoided bright, ringing, comtemporary acoustic guitar sounds and chosen instead the slightly duller, rounder, more percussive sounds of smaller bodied, tradional acoustic guitars. The guitars are simply but skillfully played. The voices croon and harmonize beautifully, but never over reach. The excessively florid vocal gymnastics of singers like Whitney Houston are completely absent.

This is music stripped down to the bare essentials; music which maximizes its impact on the listener by use of understatement and subtlty. This is one of the most impressive things I've heard in a long time.

Posted at: 20:52 | Category: Music | Permalink