As you know, I recently discovered a large case of cds which had been hiding out under the passenger seat of my car for the last two years. After I had my fill of Wilco, I moved on to Gillian Welch’s Time (The Revelator). This is one of the saddest-sounding of Gillian Welch’s albums, and also my favorite. The Welch-Rawlings songwriting team has the uncanny ability to make songs that sound both vintage and new at the same time. They seem to manage to borrow from the past in a fresh, non-cliché kind of way.
Listening to Time (The Revelator) reminds me slightly of my room in the college-owned house where I first listened to it in Walla Walla, Washington. My brother had made me a copy and sent it to me that Fall of 2001, and I listened to it non-stop, completely entranced. I even recall working the term ‘revelator’ into one of my English essays. However, the imagery of the album is powerful enough that the songs don’t remind me of external memories as much as they do the songs themselves. This was another breakthrough record in my opinion, showcasing darker and more complex songwriting (I seem to like that, don’t I?), and establishing Gillian Welch and David Rawlings as the torch bearers of great American folk.
I have seen them in concert maybe ten times and they are always captivating. Here they are performing a track from that album:
If you want more, check out this version of Miss Ohio at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass last year in San Francisco (I was there!) Rawlings is a god. They’re not letting me embed it, but do watch it – it’s truly great.
And one more for the Ricky Skaggs fans: