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Jul 11

Gillian Welch: “Revelator”

Gillian Welch -- Revelator

Everyone liked Gillian too much to mention that her dress kind of clashed with the sofa.

Wow, what a show. I saw Gillian Welch play with David Rawlings at the Moore Theater in Seattle last night, and it was fantastic. Just the two of them and their guitars (and a banjo) — no amps, just mics, as they play their guitars without any effects added. You just don’t see a stage with that little equipment set up on it very often. But that’s all they needed to make it a night of great playing and singing. Their voices blend perfectly, and David Rawlings’ guitar playing is incredible — he had just one guitar: a 1935 Epiphone Olympic archtop (okay, so I didn’t really know what it was at the time; I had to look it up when I got home). But he got some incredible sounds out of that guitar, with beautifully intense solos on a number of songs.

So as a result, I’m doing the first post on the blog to feature a previously featured artist. My general intent was to try to feature mostly different bands/artists, but of course at some point it becomes inevitable that I’m going to want to feature another song by someone. So might as well break the ice and start now, when I have a good reason to.

Play

The song that really brought the house down last night was “Revelator” (from Welch’s 2001 album, Time (The Revelator)) — as quiet a song as it is, it wouldn’t seem at first like a candidate to do such a thing. But its beautiful melody and dark sparseness reminds me a lot of some of Neil Young’s best early songs, and combined with a stunning solo by David Rawlings, it was a show-stopper, getting a standing ovation from the crowd. (But thankfully, it didn’t really stop the show…there was more.) Honestly, it was one of the most moving performances I’ve ever seen.

In addition to the recorded version in the widget at the top of the page, I found a video of them doing the song live in England that might give a taste of their performance last night. Take note of Rawlings’ solo starting at 6:20 — multiply that solo by an intensity factor of 5, and you might get some idea of what he did last night.

(As it turns out, the video doesn’t allow embedding, so click this link to view it at YouTube): http://youtu.be/Lo-xdqz4ryc?t=1m

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