Gillian Welch 'The Harrow & The Harvest' Acony

By now everyone should know what the duo of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings sound like. They have carefully perfected their distinctive sound over the years and though there has been a long gap between this and their last album they have been looking at ways to capture that sound and to distill the nature of their performance. They are looking for a purity of sound that harks back to another era without ever getting lost in the past. The songs are as striking as ever and have a clarity of purpose that allows their two voices to intertwine in much the way that the instruments - guitar and banjo, with touches of harmonica - do. The music is elegantly beautiful. There are those, fans of Revival, who wish to hear some additional instrumentation, adding texture, but here it is difficult to see how that would work so intimate is the delivery. It is an album whose subtle and supple performance will reveal much over repeat listening. A song like The Way It Goes is a perfect example of the alchemical interaction between the two persons who play under one name and are balanced parts of a complex and intriguing whole. There is a depth of serious intent in these songs which are in many ways ageless interpretations of a time honoured tradition that could easily be on a remote front porch as in the confines of a recording studio. Welch and Rawlings have an instinctive interaction that makes their music special to those who are in tune with their musical zeal and zeitgeist.