gillian welch:
 time (the revelator) (acony records)

For years, the very mention of bluegrass or folk music made my stomach turn.  But recently I’ve come to appreciate the crafting of melodies and magical stories these genres engender.  Many of today’s artists are breathing new life into and even expanding the boundaries of the old art form.  Gillian Welch is one such musician.

Gillian Welch was born in California and gained an interest in bluegrass and early country music at an early age.  By the time she attended Boston's Berklee School of Music in the early 1990s, she was performing her own material, as well as traditional country and bluegrass songs.  Welch wrote and performed during this time with fellow student David Rawlings and the duo is still together after creating three albums, including their latest, Time (The Revelator).

On this CD, Welch and Rawlings have created a starkly beautiful sound that captures the spirit of Appalachia but doesn’t end with a simple bluegrass or folk song.  They expand each song through influences as diverse as “granola” folk, rock-n-roll ballads, and even big band harmonization.  Their voices and instruments weave an entrancing tapestry of melodies and melancholy harmonies that reflect musicianship that was created for each other. 

In addition to their outstanding musical score, Welch and Rawlings have shared their gift for conveying complex emotions and simple stories alike through their lyrics.  On the track “Revelator,” they plaintively state that regardless of how we hide our emotions or who we are, time will reveal our true selves.  While “Dear Someone” and “Red Clay Halo” share the varied feelings encountered in relationships between the sexes.

Time is one of those rare CDs that gets better the more I listen to it.  Give it a listen…enjoy a trip through a time gone by and a glimpse of things to come.

Charlie Bradshaw

read more in music...