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Gillian Welch

Gillian Welch first appeared on the folk scene as a young singer/songwriter armed with a voice and sensibility far beyond her years, earning widespread acclaim for her deft, evocative resurrection of the musical styles most commonly associated with rural Appalachia of the early 20th century. Welch was born in 1967 in Manhattan and grew up in West Los Angeles, where her parents wrote material for the comedy program The Carol Burnett Show. It was as a child that she became fascinated by bluegrass and early country music, in particular the work of the Stanley Brothers, the Delmore Brothers, and the Carter Family.

In the early '90s, Welch attended the Berklee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, where she began performing her own material, as well as traditional country and bluegrass songs, as part of a duo with fellow student David Rawlings. After honing their skills in local open mike showcases, the duo began performing regularly throughout the country. While opening for Peter Rowan in Nashville, they were spotted by musician and producer T-Bone Burnett, who helped Welch and Rawlings land a record deal. With Burnett producing, they cut 1996's starkly beautiful Revival, an album split between bare-bones duo performances -- some even recorded in mono to capture a bygone sound -- and more full-bodied cuts featuring legendary sessionmen like guitarist James Burton, upright bassist Roy Huskey, Jr., and drummers Buddy Harmon and Jim Keltner.

Her sophomore album, Hell Among the Yearlings, followed in 1998. The years following her second release found Welch involved in several soundtracks (O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Songcatcher), tribute albums (Songs of Dwight Yoakam: Will Sing for Food, Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons), and guest spots on other artists' albums (Ryan Adams' Heartbreaker, Mark Knopfler's Sailing to Philadelphia). Following the success of O Brother, Welch and Rawlings found themselves in the center of a traditional American folk revival and released their third album, Time (The Revelator), in mid-2001. Steady touring, guest appearances, and the release of a DVD (The Revelator Collection) kept the pair busy, but in 2003 they found time to record Soul Journey, their second release on their own Acony Records label. Rawlings cut his first solo album, A Friend of Mine, though Welch sang harmony all over it. It was issued in 2009. Welch didn't release another album under her own name again until 2011, when she and Rawlings released The Harrow & The Harvest on Acony. She and Rawlings co-produced, sang, and played everything on the album, which was engineered by Matt Andrews. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Comments

hector_ramir e z 2 9 1 9 9 0
Flawless
Beautiful! Thank goodness for Townes Van Zandt station
comptonjodi
I love her.
Isn't it amazing how musical simplicity and emotional truth touch you like so much over-produce d modern music cannot? Love Gillian and how this beautiful kind of music is being rediscovered .
Very great down home music!
Such a remarkable woman, right up there with Lucinda Williams.. Truly amazing soul.
Thank you , Jason Ankeny. By the way, Nice nom-de-plume . Your Discophorey was informative to say the least....... . . . . . . . . I really appreciate the forum. BZ
Lovin' this release. Though the mood is often melancholy, the album still feels as soothing as watching a lazy river flow........ . . . . . . . . .
I think I'm in Love!
armsbyned
I love Pandora for exposing me to Ms. Welch. Heard her name all over the place but never really heard much of her. Every song of hers that comes on is better than the last.
Gilliam Welch was adopted to an urban family. Her adopted parents found out that she was born to a young musical woman from the south and told her as she was entering adulthood.
debbiehern
Just them last night in Spokane in a small venue. They were fabulous and so authentic!
Tickets still very affordable.
me_soares
Dave Rawling's album is still wrong...it's Friend of a Friend.
Couldn't talk; greatness here.
jimsand82
Great sound! Great music!
my comments about gillian were true so it was deleated
jessedphilli p s
I frequently sing Gillian Welch songs to my two kids at night for bedtime. Listening to a little kids sing Orphan Girl, By the Marks where the Nails have Been, or Acony Bell...doesn ' t get much sweeter.
lance.ladd, I don't know you, but you need therapy
phoenixbeak
Whoever wrote this bio got the David Rawlings solo album title wrong: It is A Friend of a Friend.
Love Gillian, maybe the best songwriter we have. And I think you have to understand guitar, or have played, to appreciate Rawling's playing.

Also, as regards authenticity . . . G i l l i a n isn't just in touch with old-time, Americana roots music, she's in touch with the deep human things that music is in touch with that make it so great. Is she for real? Listen to Revelator... t i m e has shown us that she is.
I love Tennessee Rose, ever since i heard it on the Paste sampler.
Saw her underneath the desert night sky at Pappy & Harriet's Pioneertown Palace in Pioneertown, CA Fall 2011. Or her n Dave Rawlings. Played with instruments mic'd n just the two of them. One of the most moving shows I've ever seen. Their music gets into you deep.
riversong6
Yes, revival is good, especially when she & David Rawlings are reviving late 60 psychedelic tunes. You ought to hear their renditions of Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit and Traffic's Dear Mr. Fantasy that they played at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival on June 18, 2005, some of the best music I've ever heard, passionate, powerful, lyrical, rockin', virtuoso . . . sublime!
ceciliarahne r
Gillian, You are a Treasure! Saw a knock out show at the Van Duzen, Here in Humboldt County...Alw a y s welcome!
just discovered her, wow!! luv her style
Chicago...
Amazing! Saw her at Pappy and Harriet's last night in Pioneertown, CA
lawlockman
New York and LA. I don't believe it. Luv the voice and lyrics.
I was beginning to think I was the only one who loves Gillian Welch! Where are you people? I've been hooked ever since I heard Devil Had a Hold on Me from Hell Among the Yearlings. That's good stuff.
fho2
Every time I listen it gets deeper.....
rjhagman
Love her music! Was introduced from Oh, Brother Where Art Thou and since have listened to more of her work, watched her perform, and love the old songs being revived in this culture, the Celtic, Swedish with a modern flair.
kanefox130
Gillian rules
tldesignerda v i s
Fabulous . . .
joe.kalb
She does a song called Caleb Meyer on an internet video. I had never heard of her before that, but it is honestly one of finest perfomences I've had the pleasure of viewing.
Though she was born in Manhattan, not Appalachia, people from NYC, probably because it's so completely cosmopolitan , can be born anywhere they want.
She has a new album? How late am I this time? Will she tour again? Please? I LOVE Gillian!
gdermott
great very much reminded me of rain!
The Wind and the Rain, on Songcatcher is over the top good. Just found another CD to buy...downlo a d i n g one song just doesn't always cut it, although "making an album" has long departed from the artful cohesiveness of the past, and I'm not one to glory in the past, or even think it better. Anyway, a good one. Maybe great!
Still appreciate her work, and hope so much it may continue! Blessings, Gillian (even though you don't read this!)
I have seen a live video of Gillian and David covering "White Rabbit." Having the chops to do her usual songs and the PIPES to tackle a Grace Slick classic maker her versatile as well as wonderful
marykateguil f o y l e
warm and delightful
i'm in love!
love her music. West Los Angeles??!! I can't believe it.
She is an unbelievable song writer. So soulful.
tisay1970
Sweet, she sounds good here in North Alabama
Still the most listened to station I have. And continuing on...
deep, real , everything good song writing should be
I love the harmonies on Gillian's "Orphan Girl"
I was blown away when I first heard the son "Bar Room Girls" back when. I continue to be amazed at this woman's writing.
getgoth
Dave Rawlings doesn't get the credit he is due. His leads on "The revelator" are really inspiring.
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